This is going to be a defining summer for each of my two boys and for their mother. That would be me.
It will be the summer that determines whether all the time, money and parenting I’ve put in over these many years will actually pay off.
My oldest graduated from college two weeks ago. And while I was a wreck with anticipation as I drove up to Northwest Missouri State to watch him walk across the stage for that diploma (actually, they mail the sheepskin), it was exhilarating for both of us. He floated and flashed this great big smile as if he were about to step off that stage into a dream job and all was right with the world.
He’d done everything he was supposed to do. Everything we’d told him he must do. All his life — we probably started with him in utero — I’d repeated: Get your education, make good choices, work hard, never give up and the world is your oyster, my son.
I might have made it sound like once he’d conquered college the rest would fall right into place — college, job, nice car, family, house. I don’t think I really knew how guilty I was of false advertising. Or maybe I just thought my son would be the exception to today’s average college student who graduates into a tight job market, toting tens of thousands in debt.
I thought, he’s talented, personable; he’ll have a job way before he graduates. Well at least he doesn’t have big debt.
So this summer he’ll be putting on a full-globe press to find the right job. And it is going to take every bit of charm, talent, manners, wit, posture and observation I spent 22 years instilling in him.
So there’s that.
Meanwhile my youngest, with guidance from Mom and his brother, will spend the summer using his home-built arsenal of personality, brains and community and school involvement to land himself a place at a good school.
I thought about making jokes about how intense this summer is going to be for the three of us, but as the kids in the movie “E.T.” said, “This is reality,” and there’s nothing funny about it.
We are all bracing to do battle. Jordan, the young one, has already decided that even with three years under his belt playing with the Kansas City Youth Symphony, he’s not trying out this summer. Tough choice because I know he loves it.
But he’s trading in rehearsal time for writing essays for college applications and scholarships and for getting his associate’s degree at the local community college by the time he graduates from high school.
If we do this right, at summer’s end Jordan will have a solid portfolio prepared to send off to colleges and foundations, and Trey will either have landed a sweet gig or have pretty good prospects for one.
Me, well as you know, Mom’s work is never done, but at least I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing all my pushing, advising, begging and spending wasn’t in vain.
To reach Mará Rose Williams, call 816-234-4419 or send email to email@example.com.