Off to College: To My Son on Your College Orientation Day by Shannon Mattice
As you caught some Z's due to our early departure, I looked over at you scrunched in the passenger seat. Your 6-foot frame folded uncomfortably, your knees hitting the dash. When did that happen? When did you become ... a MAN? I glanced in the rear-view mirror, certain I would see my chubby-cheeked towheaded toddler snoozing with his ever-present Pooh, but you weren't there. Blinking back unexpected tears, I checked again just to be sure, but the backseat was empty.
As we head to your chosen college for freshmen orientation, I wish there was a way for you to truly know how wide open your world has become. I have walked this same path and want you to know that you will find your place. You will take classes that excite you from professors who will challenge you. Don't back down from that challenge – you've got this!
You will find your people. Every one you meet will shape you. Your teammates, your classmates, the kids you eat dinner with – they will become your family, and that's a good thing. Just promise that you won't forget about us at home, and I promise that we are excited to be on this journey with you. No looking back, only forward.
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As my solitary drive home progressed, tears of joy took over when I realized this was a new beginning for both of us. Not only was my child starting a new life, so was I. In a way we shared this new beginning together.
I can't say the next four years were easy, but we grew together. I believe we both spread our wings and learned to soar.