19 September 2011

...help me get things right

Days have settled into a predictable rhythm, one almost indistinguishable from the next.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

And yet, it has almost seemed as if there is no rhythm. This is my new life, and it fits awkwardly.

The son and I are set to fly off to Chicago next month while the spouse and daughter hold down the fort. Info sessions and campus tours, too, have a predictable rhythm, and I don't expect to hear anything I haven't heard before. It's more to look, to see, to listen to one's gut, and let the campus charm us. Or not.

("Not" happened over the summer. What was weird was that we were in agreement as to who was charmless. And they weren't necessarily schools one would expect to lack charm.)

Clearly, the schools are amping up, too, as the days roll down toward application deadlines. Phone calls are coming in, along with interesting offers (sometimes from places we've never heard of). I can see the boy reeling with a sort of fatigue from this process. A little voice whispers, "Does it really matter?"

But for him, I know this matters. I know that to forego this sort of opportunity would be wrong. So I don't push, but I guide, sometimes more forcefully than others. I listen to my gut. So far, I've been right on all counts. But I don't take that as success or a guarantee of anything. In my heart of hearts, I know that on some level, I will regret all of this work on his behalf, all 17 years worth, though not because I fear failure. No, his success will be what takes him from me, opens the world to him, and sets him on his road.

It is what a parent hopes and fears for a child: that we've gotten it right.

Go listen to some good music: "Learn to Fly" from the album There is Nothing Left to Lose by Foo Fighters.

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