This week, many baby boomer parents, like me, have been going through the experience of sending their children off to college for the first time. We are becoming something called “empty nesters.”
I would like to say helping my daughter enroll into college for the first time was a wonderful and teary-eyed experience---but it wasn’t. My greatest disappointment is the fact that she didn’t even consider my alma mater—but instead, chose to go to the school her father and my WAS-band went to. This decision was made in spite of the fact that he offered no support and no consultation. In hindsight, it’s probably better that he didn’t because that probably would’ve made matters worse!
Unlike my daughter, all I had to do when I arrived on the Ohio University campus was find my residence hall and move in. My daughter, on the other hand, was ill prepared for what was to come on her orientation day because she had not taken care of certain things in advance. She had no housing assignment and no class schedule. Her immunization records had not been turned in.
Some things have definitely changed. Unlike when I was in college, incoming freshman have to take an English and Math exam to see what level they’re on. I though that’s what the SAT’s were for. The good news is she scored a perfect 100 in English but failed miserably in Math. She may end up changing her major from Business to something else since she will be required to take a few Math courses along the way.
While my husband (her step dad) were waiting for her to finish with her testing, I tried to close some of the gaps by trying to get her a room assignment and request her immunization records from her doctor.
Then it hit me. The reason my daughter was so laxidasical with this process is because she had been so accustomed to me doing everything for her. In the football game of life, I was her linebacker. I blocked for her time after time when she was faced with challenges. As her quarterback as I called plays for her to make sure her transitions were smooth. I would also tackle for her if someone was trying to keep her from excelling—especially her teachers.
I have become the type of baby boomer parent I have written about and been critical of. I made it too easy for my daughter to get through life up to this point.
After 12 hours of walking around on campus trying to handle things, once again, on her behalf, I have decided the buck has to stop here. It’s time she learned about struggles and heartaches, success and failures on her own—without my interference. I just hope and pray that I’ve taught her enough that she will stand on her own and rise to the challenge.