My youngest son will be entering his senior year of college at the end of September. When he was 18, my husband, daughter and I moved him into his dorm room at Western Washington University, took a brief tour of the campus and went out to dinner together. After we said goodbye and left him there, I cried most of the way home, all the while being assured by my daughter that he would be fine. Of course, he has been more than fine and has quite a good life for himself in a really nice town. I think he would say so too, except for the studying part, which is why, of course, he went there in the first place.
It turns out that his college experience has been as much about me as it has about him.
He is a remarkable young man in many ways. After his junior year of high school, he got himself an internship at a prestigious restaurant in town and grew in his cooking knowledge and skill. He also survived several rounds of interviews and was accepted into a youth program where he worked at Microsoft every day after school. And he got himself there on the bus every day. He also figured out, all on his own, that doing well and getting good grades was important and he made his way into Honor Society his senior year. I started to think that maybe it wasn’t me doing such a good job as his mother but it was him, working it all out on his own; seeking and finding new opportunities, learning how to be resourceful and successful. And so it has been, for the last 3 years. And so I have moved from being an active participant in his life to being a proud observer and supporter.
He is not pursuing a life of faith right now, at least in the way I understand faith. I have had to grow in my ability to accept that. But I am confident that God is at work and is obviously showing favor toward him, in the quiet, unseen ways that God often does. And may it continue to be so as he moves closer and closer toward that momentous graduation day. Meanwhile, he will choose his classes, schedule his work hours, study on campus and in the new house that he found—along with two friends, and will move into before the quarter starts—go shopping, fix his own meals, pay his own bills, navigate his way around town on his bike and on the bus and all those other things that college students do while they are growing up and becoming responsible adults. And I will cheer him on from home while I, too, grow up, albeit in a completely different way: letting go, praying, trusting. Trusting in my young man’s character and in God’s great grace.
My sister Leslie Grant lives in Kirkland, Wash., is married to Ron and has 3 children, 2 of whom are married adults. She is a para teacher in the public school system. She is an avid Seattle Mariners fan, which puts us at odds during the season as my A’s are in the same division as the M’s. But blood is thicker than baseball, so it’s all good.