The First College Tour

Yesterday was a huge day in my life as a mom.

We went on our first college tour as a family.

This week is spring break for my kiddos, and we made the long drive to Waco, TX, to visit family and to tour Baylor University.  The drive was a blast, and our trip has been great.

I need to clarify: both of my children will graduate next year.  Because of the strange way that our family has lived out its life, our kiddos are in the same grade even though they are a year apart by age.  While this has many benefits, I can see how the nest emptying out all in one graduation moment could have its difficulties (for me).

My kids growing up has been great, but it has been hard as well.  And this whole “college thing” just makes it even more real. There is nothing like being on a college tour to help you realize that time is flying by.

Step back for a minute….

The girl had visited Baylor University in August when she flew in to visit family.  I could not believe that she had gone on her first college tour without me.  She went with her aunt.  It was heart-breaking.  I’m a guidance counselor. And I’m her mother!

I gulped hard and was happy for her while at the same time I hurt for me.  She was so proud, as we took the tour yesterday, to tell us how much she already knew.

Letting her do the tour without me was just one of many huge steps to come.

And our tour yesterday was another example of a huge step.  I trailed behind the tour guide, did not ask a ton of questions, and was not “that parent” on the tour.  I am quite sure that the boy was happy about this as he thinks I am “that parent” on just about every occasion possible.

As I rode the tour bus, it dawned on me that there is no turning back.  They are in the midst of deciding the next step in their lives, and – though I can say what I want – the decision really must be theirs.

And this step will determine the course of their lives.

It is a big deal.

And I felt that big deal most of yesterday.  I felt it all…

I realize that this is something that I have to get used to feeling – a loss that isn’t a loss yet, a future on its way, and a whole new stage of parenting.  The way I parent today prepares them for this future, but I have to accept that the new stage is on its way and will change how we interact with each other in the next few years.

Yesterday was just part of the continuum, and it is all going fast.

Too fast.

In my mind, I can still see the cute little people who stood – in their cute little uniforms – in front of our flat’s door in  Edinburgh, Scotland, on their first day of school in 2001.

And yesterday they walked across the Baylor University campus as if they were ready to stay and participate.

What made yesterday so awesome?

  1. The kids had prepared by looking at the website a lot.
  2. The kids had looked at several other university and college websites so that they were able to make comparisons.
  3. We knew people in the area and at the school.
  4. The school gave the kids free t-shirts (you think I’m kidding? I’m not!).
  5. I tried to let them lead rather than to take control of the situation (note: tried).

I will spend the next eighteen months trying to let them lead rather than to take control of the situation….and that started yesterday…

If you have a junior in high school, how are you doing? If you have kiddos who have graduated, what was the most helpful in the college search?  What has been the hardest thing about your kids growing up?


Filed under Parenting, Relationships, Travel

7 responses to “The First College Tour

  1. I love this so much….but you know the part I loved best?? The part about ‘that parent’ – I’m giggling. So right now Jonathan is at a college visit on his own. After spending last fall in Oxford he is now working and has to figure out next steps – and I’m here at work all nervous and all thinking “is he late?” he was “is this the right place?” and all kinds of other stuff. This is number 5 and I still get this need to lead so I loved this post.


    • Oh – I am that parent! But knowing that I am has allowed me to reign that in and allow my kids to tell me to back off a bit. I don’t think it matters which number of student it is, they are still ours…and their futures mean the world to us. Now I am curious where he is looking! 🙂


  2. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    Love your awesomeness list 🙂


  3. The hardest thing about my kids growing up? The same as what I love the most. Watching them bloom as independent young adults, using their gifts and skills learned through their lives and then making their lives happen. I miss being actively involved in the lives of my children but now that that they are young adults living out of state, that is as it should be. 🙂 And the relationship with my young adult children is pretty darned amazing. I learn from them more than they learn from me.


    • Thank you SO much for your comment, Karen! It is so great to hear from someone “on the other side” of where I am today and to be encouraged that being a part of their present in the future is amazing. I look forward to it but want to hold on to today’s greatness also. Thanks!


  4. Pingback: Still Stepping Those Big Steps | slowingtheracingmind

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