Don’t be surprised if your dreams take a back seat
Autumn carries romantic images for many of us through the indian summer season. In fact, many feel it is their favorite time of the year; warm days and cool evenings entice us into a sort of complacency. We’ve grown through the years to appreciate that Frank Sinatra’s voice crooning those lyrics, “The falling leaves drift by my window…. the falling leaves of red and gold.”
Well snap out of it! The falling leaves are going to be the reality that includes the seasonal back to school nights, at least for the elementary/high school parents. There you will learn what you’ve always suspected at home; some kind of dysfunctional gene is harbored in your husband’s side of the family. Still you can muddle through this with a lot of Advil; some parents bring a case of this just for the teacher. It’s usually their first time encountering a generation that was brought up on “Goodnight Moon,” but then went straight to the “Grand Left Auto” series one through five.
Heaven help us if it is a college age child, for it’s a parent’s whole weekend, not just a couple of hours of sitting with a teacher at night when thankfully there are exhausted from a full day of putting out fires.
This is the first time actually you’ll get to see your young adult in an academic environment, where you hope he will learn the skills to one day be called governor, senator, or dare I even think it, supreme court justice. Well, you can think all you want, but it will also be the first time you’ll hear your son’s well thought out baptismal name substituted for the handle ”Six Pack,” or just plain “Sudsy.”
Don’t panic; this still does not negate his chances of running for public office. In fact, it might enhance it.
I know at this point it seems more likely that he will be wearing one of those hot dog suits and handing out slips of paper for a free drink at the Bada Bing Club on the streets of Manhattan, but I wouldn’t give up just yet.
This child you have nurtured, and well let’s be honest here, who hasn’t had much to say to you since he turned 13 and found out you have no idea who the Smashing Pumpkins band are, and what the true meaning of getting out of bed at one in the afternoon signifies. Still you could live with that knowing your dreams of them going to college and affording a better life, which usually included a briefcase and tie, were worth those two extra jobs for the tuition, which is now the size of a budget for a third world country.
But now you will face new challenges. So don’t be surprised if your dreams take a back seat. And this anxiety goes both ways.
Just for the moment you will experience the horror your child feels that his or her parents stand diametrically opposed to his core values which basically are centered around the astounding fact that you eat red meat and both work during the day, thus missing all the episodes of “As the World Turns.” Hideous!!
You should expect during your parents’ college weekend a tour of the campus. This can be very enlightening, especially to your enrolled child, who has never seen the school library, the administration building and a number of other academic buildings that house things like science labs and classrooms where classes start before one in the afternoon. Not to worry, there usually is a random dog that resides on campus with enough hours to graduate with a PhD that knows its way around by scent. Parent’s weekend is a big handout event for them.
At the end though, parents and students are buoyed by this experience. The fake books in his room can go back to the rental store and parents are assured they have four more years before he moves back home. So let those autumn leaves drift by your window.