a new day

My husband and I have entered a new stage of parenting.  I don’t know if this season has an appropriated name.  Maybe:

college prep
post adolescent
good gosh!  my son’s old enough to join the armed forces

Whatever the name, it’s definitely a different time in the life of a family.  I find myself laughing inside when I hear parents of preschoolers talk about the immediacies of their current situation.  Or elementary parents who are trying to decide what time’s an appropriate bedtime for their eight year old. While I don’t mean to minimalize these occurrences, we are well past them, and moving at light speed [it seems] toward empty nesthood.

When your kids are 14 and 17, it’s pretty much [go time].  Maybe that’s what this stage should be called……. GO TIME.

We dropped our 17 year old off on Sunday for 3 weeks of Governor’s School for the Arts.  It’s an honor to be accepted.  It’s the result of hard work and effort, plus some natural talent [actually, a lot of natural talent].  It’s basically three weeks of pretend college.  The students live in a Transylvania University dorm.  They have a roommate and eat in the cafeteria.  They can order pizza at 10:30 p.m., if they so desire and haven’t spent all the money their parents sent along.  And, most importantly they separate into groups and work on their particular art form.  Intensely.

During the orientation on Sunday afternoon, it was stressed that this opportunity can and most likely will afford scholarship opportunities.  As well as other college.career.future opportunities that otherwise might not have been attainable.  So….once our son completes this three week intensive, it’s time to seriously look at the next steps in his life.

Meanwhile, there’s the girl.  As in our 14 year old daughter.  She will begin high school in the fall.  This means we will be exclusively high school parents.  No preschool, elementary, middle school people in the house.  It will be 2 high schoolers and 2 adults.  [And if you know my husband, you realize it will be more like 3 high schoolers, and 1 adult! – I ♥ you, Chip!]

I realize that once we get our son settled and situated into his post high school lifestyle, there will be little if any time to breathe a sigh of relief until we begin the process again.  And this time, it looks like we’ll be dealing with an even broader spectrum of possibilities, since our daughter doesn’t have a very finite, specific interest in one thing, like our son does.  Although, maybe that will change and she’ll decide to devote her life to taking down the coal industry or manufacturing organic dog food or photographing for National Geographic.  I can see her doing any of these.

I think the oddest thing about this particular time is that I remember experiencing these years myself  somewhat clearly.  I remember being 17.  I remember packing up for college.  I remember the first day of high school.  And it doesn’t seem that long ago. 

I’m not sure I’m ready for one of those “UK Mom” bumper stickers or tee shirts [am I this old?].  And the thought of a “University of Louisville Mom” sticker seems even more far out, though the rebel in me thinks it might be somewhat fun to display in Lexington, [home of Big Blue Nation] Kentucky.

Today my younger sister, my only sibling, turns 40.  Which makes me feel older than old.  Like the title of this entry, it’s a new day. 

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