Sunday, March 2, 2014

Planning on Letting Go...

My mother-in-law complains to me all the time that I'm not sentimental. Just because I don't 'reminisce' and regale every conversation, every day, about going to China, seeing Alexa for the first time, her first diaper change, her first word, memories of her doing EVERYTHING! Apparently I'm not sentimental and am basically a cold fish with no sense of humor because of this. Now that I've gotten that off my chest, we are preparing to start the great college search for Alexa.

Now, I will admit to being the consummate worrier. Also, Alexa is a very smart cookie so the decision and process for her is a little more complicated than mine was. My mother didn't think my grades would get me into a four-year school and she was high on the junior college bandwagon - Nassau Community College. I went to my guidance counselor and told him I wanted to go far enough away that I couldn't and wouldn't want to come home every weekend, but close enough I could drive home with someone else for major holidays and school breaks. The guidance counselor basically looked inside a 5 hour drive radius and he came up with Keene St. College in New Hampshire, the only school I applied to besides NCC. THANK GOD, I got into Keene! You see, the important thing for me was to 1. get off Long Island 2. Go where no one knew me 3. Go where I could get in (in that order)! I went to Keene sight unseen except for a few pictures taken in a snowstorm from the only other person I ended up knowing before going to New Hampshire, a childhood friend who I saw only occasionally.  It all worked for me. I got a good education, discovered I was not teacher material (especially to little kids) and most important, met the love of my life.

Alexa is a completely different story. She is smart, very smart - she is driven, has a great work ethic, has no problem making friends and is beautiful (everything I wasn't). However, Alexa is singularly driven. Her focus is completely on finishing high school as successfully as she can to prepare for college. As for college itself, she's kinda clueless. I mean that in a good way, she wants to go to college, she just doesn't know where or what she wants to study. Not an uncommon thing for a 17 year old. So far, she's going on what friends are doing and since all her friends are as smart or smarter than her, it's not a bad thing. Alexa is a child of college campuses. She has lived on a college campus or has been on college campuses her whole life. She is friendly with college presidents. She is comfortable around college students. All of these things would make it easier to plan for college, you'd think…

We are looking at Boston University, and a few 'reach' schools. Also, we're focused on New England. Lex really has no preferences, but - she wants to go on college tours. Do you see my dilemma? How can we go on tours when she doesn't know what she want to see or do for that matter.  Ask her and she'll say, "Business--? maybe Finance? Management? Science, no I'm not smart enough…"

It is hard to give her guidance because both Norm and I are such small school advocates and that is the environment we are used to. Trying to not impose my own prejudices on her and yet guide her to what will work best for her is really hard. Looking at my daughter as a grown-up and subjugating my preferences is such a part of letting go and sending your child into the world. It's scary, not the going, but guiding her in the direction that is best - for her. If that doesn't make me sentimental and caring for my child then maybe my MIL is right, but I don't think so. My child she may have been, but she's an independent free thinking individual now and I need to be a mother to who she is now, not who she was then.

Now, letting her drive, that's a whole other story, she's way to young, a baby...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had a great time catching up tonight on your blog. Got some thoughts on going through the college hunt experience after going through a similar scenario with my daughter. Big campus or small; city or rural; school with science emphasis or liberal arts; how close or far, etc. My daughter chose at least one or two of each of the above to do college visits. This helped her get a sense of what she wanted, and we had a great time on the campus tours. Alexa has wonderful opportunities in front of her. Hope you, Norm, and Alexa enjoy the experience! Love, Barb in NH.