What It’s Really Like to Take Your Kid to College

This time last week I was a wreck. A sleep-deprived, irritable, overwhelmed wreck. My oldest was caught in a flurry of child-like behaviors while simultaneously trying to assert his independence. My two youngest felt like they were losing their best friend. I couldn’t enjoy the final moments of living with him and them. See why I changed the name of the blog from My Life With Him and Them to Hey Twilli? 

Our lives were changing. The nest was starting to become empty. The first of my tribe was spending his final days with me at home, the second was caught in the anticipation that she will be in this situation next year, and the third was anxiously preparing for her departure two years after that. I never knew that taking one child to college would open the floodgates to everyone leaving, and yet it did.

My prayer partner warned me. My mother warned me. My cousins warned me. Even my ex-husband warned me.

“I’m fine. We’ll be fine. It’s all fine.” And I truly believed it when I said it.

Then all of a sudden, I wasn’t fine. Continue reading “What It’s Really Like to Take Your Kid to College”

Let’s Pretend It’s 1990

Welcome to a two-part series sharing bits of advice and wisdom to college students. This post is a letter to my 18-year-old self from my 45-year-old self. Part Two focuses on the advice from a few of my friends. 

May the good life be with you
Down every road you roam
And may sunshine and happiness
surround you when you’re far from home
And may you grow to be proud
Dignified and true
And do unto others
As you’d have done to you
Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart you’ll always stay
Forever Young, Forever Young
Forever Young, Forever Young

                                                                                                        — Rod Stewart

It was June 13, 1990 and this was our senior class song. As I prepared to take my final walk across the stage at my school’s auditorium, I remember those lyrics vividly. We were and always will be forever young. If I could write my 18-year-old self a letter, I’d tell her to stay positive, remember the world is her oyster, and there’s absolutely nothing that she can’t do if she puts her mind to it.

Then I would look around to make sure my parents couldn’t hear me, I’d look her straight in her eyes, and I’d say, “while all of those things are true, you need to know some more important info. And sister, here it is.”  Continue reading “Let’s Pretend It’s 1990”

What My Kids Learned from Attending My College Reunion

This mom took her three teens to her college reunion...click to see the benefits she saw for them from www.mylifewithhimandthem.com

My history met its future on August 19, 1990. That day it was buried under the reality of moving my things from my parents’ comfy Chicago home to a modest dorm with no air conditioning and a shared payphone in the hallway. Over the next four years, it would come to be a haven for the cultivation of my religious journey, development of my leadership skills, appreciation of lifelong friendships, and protection of my naive and sometimes broken heart.

Simply put, the years from 1990-1994 were epic. They were so epic that I spent the next 18 years of my life trying to create that same type of experience for college students as a college instructor, advisor, administrator, and student services coordinator.

Let’s just title my post-college years as In Search of Epic. I had experienced epic and was now charged with creating epic experiences for others. And while I’m not really sure if any of my students would use that word to describe their experiences, I know that I put in many long days and hard hours to make sure their college years were memorable.

But eventually, the early 90s turned into the late 90s, and the early 2000s. And before we knew it, I became that college employee, still in search of epic for her students, but realizing that what she really wanted to do was impossible. I wanted to teleport myself back to the early 1990s.

Sure, I would watch  A Different World  reruns in syndication or rent Spike Lee’s School Daze to get my memory fix, but that fix would only last so long. And while I love my life as a 40-something mom of three, I do sometimes wish I could return to the days of old. One weekend not too long ago I did that – with my children – who are now beginning the college search process for themselves.

It was epic.  Continue reading “What My Kids Learned from Attending My College Reunion”