I have two hours to myself this evening, and so I am sitting here thinking about the fact that my son is leaving for college in two weeks. To quote Jerry Garcia, “what a long strange trip it’s been.” If you’re a parent, you may have some idea of what I’m writing about. If you’re not a parent, but think you might be one one day, take note - raising kids is one heck of a ride.
Nick was diagonosed with ADHD and put on medication when he was in the third grade - couldn’t sit still, couldn’t stop talking, couldn’t focus on what was being taught in the classroom if his life depended on it (hmm, where could he possibly have gotten that from?). 6th through 10th grade remains a blurred nightmare of testing, meetings, more tests, more meetings, accommodations holy mother of blah blah blah. We’d just get the classroom issues solved, when a sports issue would surface. We’d get the sports issue solved when Nick would begin to backslide in his studies. We’d get the studies back on track, and he’d suffer a sports injury, sidelining him for the remainder of the season (oh the humanity!). And then, just when we’d gotten all of Nick’s ducks in a row, a nasty case of social anxiety reared it’s ugly head (“let’s put him Zoloft,” said the Doctor. “Now, we’ll have to monitor him closely, as some teens have become suicidal while on this medication.”) Gosh, that sounds like a swell idea Doc!
Keep in mind that this is just what my son was going through. We have a daughter who is three years younger, who I swear must have raised herself for 6 years (why she doesn’t hate us, I’ll never understand - unless she’s planning on doing us in in our sleep … no, she’ll wait until we get her braces off, so I have time).
When Nick was going into his junior year, we transfered him to our neighborhood, public school. He went from 10+ years (nursery school included) at a small, catholic school, (where everyone knew everything about everyone else - believe me, we all knew way too much), to a public school with the highest percentage rate of kids living below the poverty level in our state. Needless to say, my Zoloft dosage was quickly increased. Fear, anxiety, hopelessness, helplessness, paranoia, and embarassment coursed through every cell in my body. He’ll join a gang, he’ll take drugs, he’ll get someone pregnant, he’ll flunk out, he’ll kill someone, he’ll be killed, or worse - maimed (not that beautiful face - oh my baby!) While all of these thoughts were swirling and brewing in my head, my son was … thriving! No kidding, he just, dare I say it … blossomed (I know, not the best choice of words to describe a boy - he did take autoshop though, and can seriously rock an oil change.) For the first time in his life, he went out and pursued all of the activities that he was too afraid to pursue in the past.
He now appears to be ready for college - we shall see soon enough (she said, through gritted teeth). So when he goes off in two weeks, I’ll cross my fingers, say a prayer (and perhaps slip a few of his legos into his bag - my husband will probably be secretly slipping condoms in there - but aaahhh, whatever), and hope for the best.
If you’re still a kid (and still reading this - I’m impressed, and possibly concerned), hang in there. Life really does get better, smoother, easier, at least for awhile (until you become a parent HA!) If you’re a parent, same goes for you as well. Teething, tantrums and terrible twos eventually turn into adolescence, acne, and possible anxiety (scratch that, most definitely anxiety). But it’s ok.
Alright, that’s enough. Have a great weekend.