SAT, ACT, GPA, FAFSA, NCAA, NAIA--a bunch of letters with a whole lot of signficance. College fairs, portfolio days, college visits, college applications. Scholarship searches and applications. Job responsibilities, extra school requisites, work availability, overlapping schedules. E-mails from the counselor with a senior year checklist. E-mails from colleges with preview dates. Searching through lists of majors trying to figure out at least one or two areas of possible interest for a child who has absolutely no idea what he might want to do with his life. Early mornings, late nights, quick greetings as one of us comes in while the other one goes out.
All with a nearly nineteen-year-old child I've only had for three years. It came up way too fast, and I'm not sure any of us were ready for this stage of life.
It's no wonder I'm overwhelmed. After dealing with 44 four-year-olds who wear me out physically (we move around and exercise a lot) and mentally (it amazes me how many struggle to make any connection when I give the same instructions repeatedly) every single day, then I come home to an emotional exhaustion that threatens to knock me to the ground.
Though all the senior year paperwork, activities, schedules, and deadlines don't even come close to comparing to an adoption process, they overwhelm me in a very similar way. Maybe the emotional attachment to it all triggers a fear and anxiety in me that I lived through while we pursued his adoption. I pushed through the insanity, set on doing whatever it took to bring him home. Yet I feared with everything in me that one missed deadline, one misinterpreted word, or one mistake could derail the whole endevor.
Now here I am fearing that a missed deadline, a misinterpreted instruction, or a simple mistake can mess up his whole future. Are we communicating enough about college options? Are we clear enough about expectations for balancing work, play, and school? Is he disciplined enough academically to handle college? Is he mature enough to make the right decisions while out with friends that he doesn't throw a promising future away? Have we met all the right deadlines? Are we maximizing our time?
He's begging for freedom, begging for the chance to make mistakes and learn from them. Yet with every plea he makes, I seem to hold on tighter rather than let out the rope. While he yearns for freedom, my grip tightens, wanting to shelter him and protect him from the world I didn't get to protect him from in those early years of life, wishing I could shape him through those late years of childhood and guide him through those first years of adolescence. While I try to sneak in every little chance to teach and guide him, he's pushing back, saying, "Mom. I know. You don't have to tell me." He's constantly reminding me that he learned a lot of life lessons without me. Lessons that I probably don't even want to know about.
I remember the feeling at his age, desperately wanting people to trust my judgment, to let me make my own decisions for my own life. But those missing fifteen years of his life are much harder on me as a mom at this stage in his life than I ever imagined they would be. It's hard to let go of a rope when you haven't had 18 years to build trust beforehand.
The struggle is real.
Tomorrow we head off on our first college visit to DBU (Dallas Baptist University), thanks to our former student ministry assistant from church for introducing him to the school and sparking an interest. I pray that the day is fruitful, that we have a lot of questions answered, and that God will bless our time together. I've had an extremely stressful time at school recently, so the break and the time with my son should be good for my soul.
- I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother. Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing. Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.