Thursday, September 13, 2007

You're Blowing Hot Air

Tonight is Brooke's last night at home. Tomorrow we leave to take her to Chicago to begin her a college career, a time that should be both challenging and fun. This is the moment that on one hand every parent looks forward to and on the other, dreads. At the moment of conception, and sometimes even before, parents start to wonder what their children will grow up to be. In what will they be interested? Will they be athletic? Will they do well in school? Where will they go to college? In less time than you think, the answers to these questions are answered. So, here I sit proud of Brooke for being successful in life thus far, being accepted to the eighth ranked university in the world and realizing that, except for paying her bills, my work with her is essentially done. No longer will I be the primary adult influence in her life. (I know there are those of you reading this that are thinking, "Thank God! Maybe there is hope for that kid after all!") She is ready to move on and I am ready to let her.

For a brief moment, I said to myself that if I had not allowed her to skip a grade in school, I would have her home for another year. In all honesty, that would not have been good for her. In fact, it probably would have been disastrous. She needs to make her way in a challenging academic world. Another year of high school would have bored her to tears. I am sure that the teachers are also glad to see her move on.

For the last month or so, she has been halfheartedly gathering the things she wants to take with her. It is amazing how different the presumed needs of a college freshman and the presumed needs of a college freshman;s mother are.

The biggest point of contention is over cold weather clothing. This child, born and raised entirely in Texas, has NO IDEA how cold it will be during a Chicago winter. She refused to buy a winter coat because "They are all ugly." I'm thinking that when you are freezing your butt off at 7:30 some morning when the temperature us -10, ugly is the least of your problems.

And then there are socks. Being the mother, I felt that it was my duty to say that she needed warm socks. "But I hate long socks!" I then think, how do you feel about frozen feet, and ankles and and legs? You may learn that socks are your friends.

What about boots? "Boots are dumb! I am not going skiing or hiking." Let's see if that -10 morning with a few inches of snow and her 15 minute walk to campus doesn't feel like a hike.

She did actually purchase yarn while we were in Taos to make herself a hat and a scarf. If she makes it, at least there is a good chance that she will actually wear it. (No cold ears to go with cold feet, ankles and legs.)

I did finally convince her to order a heavy coat, which should be delivered to her next week, and buy some long socks that she says that she will wear. But, no boots or winter shoes. She does, however, have two pairs of soccer shoes - cleats for outdoors and turf shoes for indoors. She said her cleats kept her feet warm during the 32 degree soccer games. We'll see how they do in snow. Then there are the knee high combat boots. Considering how heavy they are, she should be warm. A possibility . . .

All I can hope for is that when she gets cold, she will hear my nagging voice saying, "You need a heavy coat and some boots. Maybe you should also add an extra layer. Do you think maybe you should wear your hat and your hood? Mittens are actually warmer than gloves. I love you." Perhaps all of the perceived hot air that I have wasted on this subject will relieve some of the cold air that she is sure to encounter.

We leave tomorrow with whatever she has packed. In the age of Internet ordering, shopping in the city and mommy mailing things from home, I am sure she will have all that she needs.

Maternal ranting aside, I hope most that she learns during these next four years who she is what ignites a true passion in her.