Archive for August 19th, 2010

Today we went to Nick’s college orientation – in fact, he’s still there until late tomorrow afternoon. It wasn’t an easy day. My nerves woke me about 3:30 this morning. I instantly knew there was no going back to sleep so I got up and cleaned, did laundry, made more lists (thanks for jump starting me with that yesterday Nicole!) and packed. All before leaving the house at 6:30 am. I’m spending tonight near Salem with my cousin Tara and then after Nick finishes orientation we’re heading to Maine to spend time with Heather and her family.

I can’t say the day instantly got better after the rather early start. At times it was embarrassing (like when I was mistaken for a student and ushered into a student orientation group), sad (I just can’t believe Nick’s old enough to be leaving me for college) and frustrating (wish he was a bit more into it. On the way he said, “It’s clear this means way more to you than to me.” Ya, duh. Just wish he was with me on that one! But I do know this is tough for him too and he has to be a macho cool teenage boy).

I’m in a session right now – kind of cheating by only half listening (maybe I’ll be kicked out of class) – but my ears just perked up as they said we as parents must model confidence, behaviors and skills (oops, maybe should start really paying attention) and not show our students our anxiety. Too late – strike one for me. And probably strike two and three, too, since I’m publishing it for all the world to see! The thing is, I have no doubt that he can do great and be really happy if he just decides to. I really hope that is what he’ll do. What more do we want for our kids?

I just want him to:

  • relax.
  • be himself.
  • have fun.
  • use his brain.
  • be safe.
  • know that I’m here for him.
  • know how much I love him.

I do think this will be harder for me than for him. But I also know it’s not going to be as easy as he’s acting like he thinks it will be.

Ok, so family orientation has ended. Yes, I did put my notebook down and listen to most of the rest of the sessions, which is good because I actually learned some useful information. Time for me to leave. The students are upstairs eating lunch and I texted Nick to see if he needs anything before I take off. Here’s the text I got back: “Nope.” Oh well. Nothing like being dismissed. I suddenly feel like he’s five and I’m leaving him at kindergarten for the first time – only this time he doesn’t even hug me goodbye. Tears sting my eyes as I pray, for the millionth time, that he enjoys the orientation and makes friends with good kids. But he’s 18 and I know there’s nothing more I can do…

As I mentioned, tonight I’m staying near Salem. This is a good dose of on-the-road reality for me: a cheap motel like I’ll be staying at across the country. As I open the door, the smell hits me smack dab in the face: must and mold. Note to self: must really stock up on allergy meds! Appeal to friends: please keep sending me offers to stay with your friends and family across the country so I won’t be subjected to too many of these! At least this one has soap and shampoo. My, how my standards have lowered. Olivia Joules (another character from the Bridget Jones creator) would be so disgusted. She hates staying anywhere that doesn’t fold the toilet paper in a point and keep it in place with a little sticker! Me, I’m just happy to have soap, running water and a toilet that flushes. A half-decent bed is a nice bonus.

After checking out the motel, I drove a bit further north to meet up with one of my girlfriends, Alicia. This has been how I’ve been spending nearly every waking moment since I finished working – actually pretty much since I landed! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, whatever with friends – catching up, venting, seeing their kids, significant others, pets. I love it. It’s the most important thing to me. It’s the main reason why I’m back.

Heading north on 95 there are many interesting and amusing things. My favorite is this giant, billboard-size neon pink fertility clinic sign which makes me wonder why a fertility clinic needs a sign like that – do they think women are going to see it and suddenly veer off at the next exit to rush there as they would Dunkin Donuts or a gas station restroom? It also makes me wonder how in the world I’m going to capture all these thoughts while I’m driving – may have to do as one of my friends was suggesting the other day and start using the voice notes on my phone and transcribe it later. I also really wanted a picture of the sign but didn’t think  it was smart to stop on 95 to take it. I will try to remember safety first!

The day’s ended much better than it began. Tara joined me for dinner and a sleepover at the less-than-five-star motel. She showed me more of Salem, one of her old stomping grounds and we enjoyed being by the water. We both just hope that Nick grows to love the area like we do and that this is the start of something great for him…

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