>> Saturday, August 22, 2009
Aron Sora asked: I'm going to college soon, what are my parents going through? What are they feeling right now?
I would like to preface my response here with a reminder that I am not omniscient. If I'd given the impression that I knew everything in the past, let me correct that right here and now. I don't.
With that said, short answer: I don't know.
I could speculate a hundred different possibilities, many contradictory (that might even both be true) and still miss the mix of emotions your parents are going through. For example, I expect they're very proud, trepiditious about your success probably more for your own sake than anything else, relieved you have a path, sad that you're going, pleased to have some time to themselves, the list is endless. Depending on your parents, your number of siblings, the circumstance involved with your going to college, the mix of emotions changes and, even if I knew, the state is unlikely to be static.
Here's an idea. Ask them.
They may be reluctant to tell you, preferring to focus on you and your plans, your state of mind. Or they might be all too ready to tell you. But, take the time to find out. Good or bad, weak or strong, with errors or flawlessly, these people were pivotal in helping you become what you are becoming, teaching you values via example you won't even realize you learned for years to come.
People are flawed, even those we idealize, but most parents have tried their best to do the right thing. There are few professions that involve more selflessness or more dedication. More love. It's imperfect and there are no procedures or methodologies that provide a blueprint. It's the most frustrating, wonderful, frightening, time consuming, rewarding, thankless job of all time.
Take the time to ask them. You may not know it, but the fact that it matters to you what they're going through is almost certainly an indication that they did a hell of a job.
(P.S. Yes, that's me with my son Alex when he was an infant.)