Category: college

When Signs Point to Warnings

Someone once told me, “Write what you feel and what you know. Share who you are, your experiences, what you believe, and outcomes of experiences. You do have a story to tell.” Well, today I am not telling a story of my own, instead, I am writing about something that I know a little bit about and some things I have noticed with a young relative and the parents that either aren’t involved enough to realize there’s an issue or have their hands tied and know not what to do for this situation. I don’t know which situation would be better for me to hope for. I just know I am the aunt and as an outsider that carpools the kids to school and takes teenagers shopping, I have seen some warning signs. I have discussed them with my young relative all to be smirked at or told, “Everything is ok, I love him Auntie.”

The past few weeks, my niece has been talking about joining the military so she and her boyfriend could be together. The recruiters have told her there are programs that will keep them together if they are married. She’s contemplating marrying him so that she and this boy can be together. Don’t get me wrong; I am all for young love, but there’s something about the fellow she is dating that sends out warning flags: (1). He has issues with my sons taking their cousin to school in their car. (2). He has prevented her from making friends with girls and boys her age (3). has become a wedge between her family —more so than in some ‘typical’ teenage relationships (4). gets mad at her for wearing dresses to school (5) has friends that ‘spy’ and report on her actions at school. Just these few things tell me that he is controlling. I worry for her.

I have tried to talk to her. She laughs it off. She knows more than I do. I mean, after all, she’s a teenager.

Talking with her parents are like talking to teenagers themselves; they just don’t seem to get the importance of her being independent and see any issues with this boy.

It’s a hard place for me to be…an outsider looking in. I fear for her. I fear she’s going to give up her dreams of being a veterinarian. She’s going to put up with controlling and horrible behavior. She’s going to stay with a relationship because she doesn’t want anyone to say those dreaded words, “I told you so.” I fear for the live she is going to live closed off from people or fights if she does decide to have a girl’s night out.

Anyone out there have ideas to talk to her AND her parents so that they realize this is a huge issue?


Growing Pains


Three years ago, my husband and I sent our oldest son off to University. He chose to attend a school three hours away from his home. Despite the ease of hopping in a car and driving to visit him, I had a really hard time letting go and celebrating his new phase in his life. I worried so much about him: was he eating regularly, was he studying and prioritizing his time, how was he adjusting to living in a dorm room with a roommate, and if he was making friends.

This year our second son leaves for University in mid-August. Unlike his older brother, he chose a school three states away. My husband, myself, and son #2 visited the school for orientation. Beautiful campus, small campus, small school, and my son loves it. Admittedly, I do too-I just hate the distance. Whoever said that sending kids off to college was emotionally easy told a big fat lie.

Recently, we confirming with all three of the boys about an upcoming trip to Chicago. Our oldest told us he couldn’t go because he had started a new job and couldn’t ask for time off, the youngest confirmed he was going, and the second child said, “I kind of wanted to stay home and hang with friends.” Wait a minute-what?! I said something to him in reference to he’s already been hanging out with friends most of this summer and was really counting on spending a vacation with him before he left for college. I was met with the reply, “Mom, you’ve seen me every day for 18 years. It looks like you’d be able to deal with me being gone for three months until Christmas.”

That’s how I am going to look at things when he leaves in August: he’s only gone for three months. And slowly the denial that the little boy who professed to never want to grow up and would never leave home indeed DID grow up and IS leaving home will start to dissipate…..

Now I wonder about his job selection: Will he not want to grow up to be an ice cream man anymore?