The College Conundrum

Today I sit in a hotel room in Ames, Iowa after Number 3’s first day of orientation at Iowa State University. He made his final decision about the college he will attend this fall back in April and tomorrow we finish our second day of orientation. As I type this blog, I am happy inside. This feels right for him and I am proud of the man he is becoming. Tomorrow afternoon we will head back to Nebraska with only 3 months left before returning again only to unpack his bags, hug him hard and wish him luck before once again returning to Nebraska but this time, leaving Number 3 here in Ames.

Obviously this will be the third kid to leave the house but for me it feels somehow different. He is the first boy to leave home and the second one to live on a college campus. None of this is new for me but then again everything is new; Different college, different kid, different personality, different time in life. All kids of different and that is what this is really illustrating to me.

If you followed our blogs last year, I went on several college visits and he applied to over 8 schools. We blogged about these adventures. He got in everywhere he applied and for a dad, that is a very positive experience, watching your son succeed. It also left him and both my wife and I with some decisions to make. Well really not my wife and I but we did have some influence on his choice after all, we are the ones that will be paying for it.

I had a definite opinion about where I thought Number 3 should attend. Luckily for me, I was able to keep my mouth shut and he wasn’t able to read my brain waves. You see, I really wanted him to stay closer to home (45 minutes) rather than 3 hours away. It really isn’t much, but being within an hour gives me the ability to be with him if he needed me a lot faster than I can now. Why will he need me? Well let me really admit the issue; Its me, I think it is going to be hard for me to be away from him. There I said it out loud and now it is down on paper.

Number 3 is the kid that calls me on his way home from work to ask how my day was. Number 3 is the one that when he messes up, he owns up to it and says he is sorry. Number 3 to this day will tell me on a weekly or daily basis that he loves me. Number 3 gives me hugs out of the blue and even occasionally wants to hold my hand in public. Number 3 loves me unconditionally! He doesn’t bring up all the times I yelled at him, forgot something that was important to him, didn’t do what I said I was going to do. I could go on but I think you get the picture.

We have a great relationship and if I am being honest, a big reason why is because he wants that relationship and constantly asks to be a part of my life. I think that is why I wanted him closer to home. I don’t want to lose that relationship with him. He is a big part of my life and as my girls have left home, my relationship with my oldest son has gotten stronger.

I am not saying I don’t want him to grow up and have his own life because that is what Kori and I have worked towards all these years. We have prepared our kids to leave us and start their own life. We will still be involved in their lives and their decisions but now in more of an advisory role rather than supervisory role. I still expect to get the calls from him asking about my day or what I had for lunch. I do assume those will get more spaced out and that I might have to call him and ask him those questions more and more. My wife reminded me many times over the years not to take that attention he gave me for granted and now I have to admit that she was right, I am going to miss him.

I know we will have a great relationship going forward but I know it won’t be the same. Guess I should have let him hold my hand when he was a high school senior and we were together at the mall.

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