Lessons from my son’s first year

May 8, 2013 

Ronnie is home from his first year of college, and the mess in my house proves it.

When we packed him up and sent him down to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College last August, I knew Ronnie had a lot of stuff. I mean there are the clothes and towels, but nowadays kids also have TVs, Blu-ray discs, computers, printers, tables, chairs, an ironing board -- everything you need for a miniature home but in a dorm room. The thing I failed to realize when I was purchasing all those items that he “needed” was that when he came home for summer, I would have to find a place for him to store all those things.

For the first few days after Ronnie arrived home for the summer, that storage place was the middle of my living room. While the other three people who live in my house didn’t seem to mind it, I decided that I didn’t feel like walking around a big pile of stuff all summer. Plus, the stack was blocking the TV. So we put up shelves in the garage that are now filled with boxes marked, “Ronnie ABAC.”

It was just one of the lessons that I learned during my son’s first year of college.

Yes, I know, it was Ronnie who we sent off to get educated. But having my first child out of the house, even though it was temporary, has taught me a lot as well.

I learned that the ache in my heart when we left him in Tifton that day didn’t go completely away, but it did subside a little.

I learned that it was a waste of money to purchase a set of dishes and silverware for his dorm room’s kitchen; $30 dollars worth of paper plates would have been more sensible.

I learned that he is interested in all kinds of ideas and things that I have never even heard of or thought about in my life.

I learned that sometimes you have to fight the urge to jump in the car. Instead you have to just listen to your child’s problem and then tell him, “You will have to figure out a way to fix it. I am two hours away.”

I learned that there will be other adults who will influence his thinking.

I learned that I raised a child who goes to church even when I am not around.

I learned that no matter how much you paid for the meal plan, your debit card will have charges from Zaxby’s and Publix.

I learned that 19 year olds need their mother but they also need for their mother to let them be 19.

And I learned that the cleaning fee is worth it -- no matter how much it is -- when you are moving a boy out of a dorm room.

Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or allinekent@cox.net.

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