If We Were Having Coffee #6

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If we having coffee I would once again have a number of choices to offer you: a few different breakfast blends, a blueberry blend, a Columbian blend, a cappuccino, and that decaf breakfast blend that just won’t go away. I’m going with Seattle’s Best Breakfast Blend and Irish Cream creamer. I’ll have to venture to the Pacific Northwest someday.

I’ve been traveling a little bit more for work this last month. A few day trips, a conference near Pittsburgh, and a trip to Cincinnati. I have another trip to Houston coming up which I always enjoy. Great Mexican Food and Whataburger highlight my trips to Texas. They are also as close as I get to my home state of Arizona so I take advantage of the culture similarity. Traveling there is a teaser that makes me a little homesick.  I get that way every now and then.  Although I love my life in New York, and it is home now, Arizona will always be my first home.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you we are busy planning all the things that go along with a senior graduating high school. June will be a busy month. I think we have most of the college details nailed down with the exception of some last minute local scholarships we know my son is getting but are unsure of the financial award yet. They all add up and thankfully will lessen the burden on my wife and me.

We are planning his graduation party for this summer and will most likely have it at a fire hall near my house.  It’s common to rent a fire hall up here. The cost is reasonable, and the money supports a volunteer based fire department.  We’ve never planned a party like this so we are treading on an unfamiliar path. It’s exciting.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that all of this college preparation and graduation planning is bittersweet.  I am proud of my son for all of his accomplishments and the opportunity he has earned in being accepted into a very selective program at the university he will be attending yet I am saddened by the fact that he will be gone.  I know this is part of parenting but it doesn’t lessen the sadness I am feeling. Maybe as that dorm move in date gets closer, the excitement will trump the sadness.  Maybe not.

All I can hope for is that my wife and I have prepared him properly for the journey he is about to take. It’s been a little tough on us because we could not speak to him from experience.  My education was done entirely through a combination of night school and online classes while my wife’s was done while working prior to our children’s birth then finished up once they were in school. Neither of us know what it would be like to live on campus. What we do know though is what the priority will be: school. We both have confidence in him.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that there will come a morning in late August where my wife, my twelve year old, and I will wake up and start our day a little differently than we have every other morning. There will be something missing that morning and unselfishly, it will be a good thing.

A short two hour drive away, my son will be waking up in a dorm room and starting his day a little differently than he has every other morning.  I can only imagine the thoughts that will be going on in his head that morning. The excitement and nervousness that his first day of class is about to start will most likely be overwhelming.

And then, like every other school morning, his cell phone will ding or vibrate, and there will be a group message that either my wife or I start that will state: Love you all, have a great day!

And we will all respond like we always do and there will be some sense of normalcy returned to us for the remainder of the day.

I wonder what his morning coffee experience will be like that day.

Until next time…

31 Comments

  1. It sounds like a busy and exciting time for your household! I did the nontraditional school route of early morning and evening classes sandwiched around a full-time job. I never got to experience campus life either. Luckily two hours away is far enough for your son to have his independence while still being close enough for easy visiting.

    • W.C. Cunningham

      May 19, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Two hours away is perfect. That was actually his choice to stay within a few hundred miles so it worked out perfect.

  2. I know you’re feeling a bit sad. That’s to be expected with these sorts of events. Even I, no parent myself and a rather selfish, undemonstrative youngest child, had the last minute “I don’t want to go” impulse when I moved to Albuquerque.

    But he will be nearby, and if I’m correct, the excitement of new and challenging surroundings will be a good thing–and you’ll experience it by proxy. Good for him for achieving this. And good for you for raising someone worthy of the challenge.

    If we were having coffee, I’d be driven by a perverse sense of curiosity to try the blueberry coffee.

    • W.C. Cunningham

      May 19, 2015 at 10:07 pm

      I would love to see your face after exercising that perverse sense of curiosity. The only person in the house that enjoys that flavor is my 12 year old.

      Exciting times overall but that date seems to be creeping up on us too quickly. I keep reminding myself that we can be there in a few hours even if it’s for nothing more than to have a quick meal together every now and then.

  3. “All I can hope for is that my wife and I have prepared him properly for the journey he is about to take. ”
    I feel like I am going through this but with a ten year old.
    Bittersweet and selfish!
    Wow, someone always says it better than I could!

  4. Once again, you have captured the emotion with such eloquence. As I sit in Arizona, drinking coffee & readying your latest, I have to say that life most often than not, prepares us for the changes that are in store for all of us. Our children are part of our being and with that, they do take a piece of us with them. As Sammy has sometimes, said, “Mom, I hear your voice in my head!” Your son will thrive in the next step in the journey to adulthood. I believe!

    • W.C. Cunningham

      May 19, 2015 at 10:15 pm

      I believe too Julie but it still scares the hell out of me at times. I don’t know how you do it and with Sammy being a plane ride away. I’m so glad we have the technology we do today though… contact at the press of a few buttons.

      It all seems so surreal at times but I know it’s going to hit me when we leave his dorm on move in day.

  5. Lovely post, Bill. I know it is going to be hard once this first bird flies the nest, but it won’t be long before he comes back home to visit. He’ll be full of stories and I’m sure he’ll be eager to tell you most of them.

    The party in June in the Firehouse sounds great. Have a great time.

  6. What a bittersweet time! My own son is still quiet a way from that, but the thought if it is always there, of course. In the child, there is always the shadow of the adult-to-be. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of man he turns out to be, but it’s also a bit of a daunting prospect. My well wishes to you all, including him—college was a big change for me, and and I well-remember those first few weeks of living in a new place!

    • W.C. Cunningham

      May 19, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      Thanks Diana. Thankfully I have had numerous people reminding me over the years to cherish this time because it goes so fast. We’ve made the most of it.

  7. I think we owe it to our kids to let them go and have the college experience and the living away from home experience. Remember that he’s got a level head and a lifetime of lessons you taught him. He’ll do fine. He’ll learn what he needs to and he’ll continue to make you proud!

    • W.C. Cunningham

      May 19, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      I agree that we owe our kids the experience, or at least a chance at it. He is getting a very healthy academic scholarship allowing him to attend a school we otherwise could not have afforded. With that comes some responsibility on his part to maintain a certain GPA which I’m confident he will do. 🙂

      Thanks for reading Corina!

      • When I was in high school (the 70’s) I earned a full scholarship to “the Harvard of the west” (in Palo Alto, CA). It was a huge responsibility and I was constantly afraid that I would fail my family’s expectations of me. I didn’t but it caused me to miss out on a lot of things that I could have experienced and wanted to but didn’t for fear that my parents wold not understand. I am glad your son is getting to experience college and life. I know he’ll do well. You’ll see!

  8. Love the Irish creeam creamer in my coffee, please. Found you on the link-up. Congrats on your son’s HS graduation! My 27 yr old daughter is finally graduating from college after some starts and stops. Looking forward to reading more of your blog 🙂

    • W.C. Cunningham

      May 19, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      Congrats to your daughter too! I had many starts and stops myself but finally finished.

      I love Irish Cream. During our cold winter months I will treat myself to real Irish Cream in my coffee (only on weekends of course).

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  9. Such a sweet post, Bill. I regret having not been able to enjoy college/Uni life at the young age I should have, doing it as an adult is far less fun. I’m sure your son will do you proud 🙂

    • W.C. Cunningham

      May 23, 2015 at 8:35 am

      It’s not the same experience doing it as an adult. I’ve always regretted that but at least I ended up with the piece of paper to hang on the wall. He’ll do fine. He better, lol.

      • I have no doubt he will! Otherwise he’ll have angry parents to answer too! I’ve learned from your blog though, that both of your children are incredibly bright. They are both going to have a wonderful future.

  10. I am such a sap. I teared up reading this and can only imagine the emotions you and your wife are going through right now. It is an exciting, yet bittersweet time. Best wishes to you all.

    • W.C. Cunningham

      May 23, 2015 at 8:37 am

      I’m a sap too but don’t tell anyone. Two hours won’t be two bad. And we have texting, social media, facetime, skype, email, phones, ….

  11. I think it’s great that you are letting him spread his wings. Around here (France) parents tend to keep their kids at home (well the kids want to stay) for the first years of university, often then do not leave home until their master’s degree. It’s partially due to the lack of living space I guess, there are close to no dorms for students here.
    I myself left for a foreign country to study, my dad brought me to the airport and I travelled to England for the first time in my life and that all on my own.

    I hope that you’ll all enjoy the experience. I do guess it rearranges habits a bit, but I think that from what you said, you have a strong kid.

    If you don’t mind I’ll just have a glass of water, and sorry for being a bit late to your coffee share…

    • W.C. Cunningham

      May 23, 2015 at 8:41 am

      Wow, leaving for another country must have been difficult. What an experience for you though.

      Most schools here have plenty of dorms and living space, for a price of course. I hope it enhances the experience for him.

      Thanks for reading!

      • Well I grew up moving a lot (but with my family) but going to a new country was what I wanted back then. It was challenging at times, but also enriching.
        I hope that he’ll have a great time at college.

  12. Oooh I do feel for you here Bill, we have been through this departure to university once, I found it difficult, and are building up to go through it again. Although my son should be going this autumn it looks like he is going to take a year out to finish off a few things he wants to do with the RAF Cadets here so his leaving will be delayed for a year and I know that will come round quickly. You will adjust and the family dynamic will change and change again every time he comes back. Our son will also be 2 hours away just as our daughter was and it is an ideal distance – not too far, not too close. I wish you and all your family the very best through this time.

    • W.C. Cunningham

      May 23, 2015 at 8:46 am

      Will your son continue with the RAF while in school? Here in the US, students can be part of ROTC and get substantial help with paying for school, providing they enlist after graduating.

      Two hours is indeed not too far and not too close.

      • There is the same set up here in the UK and it is very tempting, particularly as my son was wanting to do medicine – for which he would have to enlist for 9 years. It has therefore been the subject of much discussion and worry for me but I’m pleased to say that so far he has decided not to go down that route, and I’m hoping he won’t change his mind 😉

        • W.C. Cunningham

          May 23, 2015 at 10:22 am

          Nine years is a long commitment, especially in the volatile world we presently live in. Personally, I would rather pay the extra money and my son’s life will be his to do as he chooses upon graduation.

  13. My thoughts entirely Bill. You’ve got to want to do it in the first place for 9 years, not just for the funding.

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