“Come on JackO! We need to keep up!”
I am not sure how many times I said those words, but it felt like thousands. I really didn’t want to miss a minute of the tours. Jack did managed to keep up pretty well – he hopped his way through three campuses over the weekend.
We spent the weekend in Boston looking at colleges. I’ve been dreading the “C” word for years and now we are here – smack in the middle of it. The clock is ticking so loudly that our family is having trouble focusing on much else.
Let me start by saying that we are thrilled for Anna. She has worked hard to be able to walk through college campuses with confidence. It’s not just top grades in top classes, but she runs clubs, has organized camps, has had an incredible internship, and is athlete too. She lives her life wasting very little time with nonsense. I’m sure she will have many wonderful options. And, she will (even if it kills me) have a family that supports her every step – or hop – of the way.
This new stage has been hard for me and it came out sporadically all weekend. The “C” word is bitter or sweet depending on what second you catch me. Just ask my family. This weekend I would go from cracking jokes, asking lengthy questions to the college guides and demanding selfies — to hiding in the bathroom and yelling things like, “I will take my own Uber home!”.
My skin is just really thin these days. I am trying so hard to make it fun for Anna. It should be. It’s an exciting time and she has worked tirelessly to make this next step in life. And, college is amazing – the classes, the clubs, the parties! How can I not be excited for her to go?
… FOR HER TO GO
To leave us here without her daily dose of humor. To leave us here without her long stories of teenage angst. Who is going to steal my clothes and call bullshit on me trying to serve leftovers for three days in a row? It’s going to be so quiet here on Clinton Avenue. I imagine I am not alone. I bet all parents have their hearts break a little when they imagine their birdies flying. Change is never easy.
And then we have an added heartbreak. The other side. The child who cannot fly. Jack who will not be going off to college. I try not to focus on the on this too much, but there are reminders everywhere we turn.
We were literally surrounded by college-bound faces all weekend. Kids that are Jack’s peers. Kids with the same mischievous smiles. The same stubbly faces. At first glance, they all look the same as our boy, but the are not the same. They didn’t have Adrenoleukodystrophy storm into their lives (and brains) as a child.
Even at home, we are being reminded. All of Jack’s childhood friends are either already in college or are anxiously waiting to hear where they’ll be heading. It breaks me when I think of what Adreoleukodystrophy stole from Jack.
I need to focus on all of adventures that lie ahead for Anna. It’s going to be amazing and lead her further towards her goals. She will get closer to medical school or a PHD in something I will never understand. She will meet new people, travel, have incredible experiences and tons of fun.
I ‘m going to toughen up and be okay with all of this change. By the time we go for our next college tour in North Carolina, I am going to be carrying a strong, bright smile and leave the tissues behind . . . but if I can’t — I apologize in advance.
Jack doesn’t seem upset in the slightest. He loves any chance of exploring with his family. Jack just hops through his life with a smile.