Thursday, September 06, 2007
My first book for Simon Pulse (GETTING TO THIRD DATE, pictured) was about a young woman who was trying to adjust to a whole new world of college life. This was a natural topic for me as I've literally never left the university life since I was dropped off at my dorm room in Dickinson Hall of the University of Delaware by my mom and dad (who said, "Don't come home on the weekends. Talk to people." ...very wise advice, btw). So I went to school for my BA in English, went back for a BA in Biology (which I did not earn, due to circumstances outside of my control -- my dh got a job teaching at a different state university), dabbled with grad school while working at said different state university, watched my oldest get her psych degree at same, am watching my middle work his way through same, and....ta da...dropped my youngest off at his (still local, but private) college last Saturday (those dorm rooms are *small*).
He hasn't had a lot of luck with school (dyslexia is a certified pain in the brain, he can attest). But this school, I hope, will be different. Not just because it is hands-on learning in a field he loves. Not just because the other students will be interested in and value the same things as my son. But because there are certain times in our lives when we get new chances to embrace big change and demand more of ourselves. College is one of those times.
There are two things that reminded me how much change is headed his way: (1) the warning about how expensive the equipment he is about to get his hands on actually is (ye gods, boy of mine, you better not break *anything*); and the fact that they say his name correctly (it isn't a hard name, but it is similar to a more popular name). His former school district couldn't get his name right...ever...in thirteen years. I stopped trying to correct them after a while. I figured they all, collectively, had a hearing discrimination issue and I try to respect other people's frailties (I, myself, can't remember faces very well at all, which is very embarrassing at times).
I'm not sure my son quite realizes how much his life is about to change (the teachers warned us to give them all three weeks to adjust). He's a 'dip a toe in the water to test it out' kind of kid. When he was little, he was afraid of our steep narrow dark stairs. He would not go down without holding onto my hand, or else he would drop to his bottom on the floor about three feet from the stairs and then scoot to the edge of the stairway, and inch his way down by sitting firmly on each stair (bounce, bounce, bounce, you'd be surprised how fast a toddler can get at that :-). And then, one day, without warning, he started running down stairs. That's what change is like for him. So, as his mom, I'm waiting for the familiar "I can handle this!" look on his face. I know it will come out of nowhere. I know I'll say something about it, the first time I see it, and he'll look at me and grin that same grin he gave me when I praised him for learning to handle our stairs like a big kid. And I'll grin back with that "I knew you could do it!" grin. Just like we have done through so many changes.
I know there are lots of people making changes, and wondering if they are good. So...change is hard, but one sign that it may be change for the better is when they get your name right without any prompting at all.