What Happened To My Parents When I Whisked Away To College


I can only smile when I think of my first few days of college freedom. Mixed emotions brewing, my peripherals were not only incognizant but virtually nonexistant. The world was going to be at my feet and this was just the beginning. Six years, two college degrees, and some wild stories later, the air of invincibility still remains but the smoke screen has all but cleared.

With this in mind, I ask myself what few other post grads do; what did my parents experience at this parallel point in time? What thoughts and emotions raced through their bodies as they no longer had to knock on my bedroom door to warn me that I was late for school again? No more breakfast to make for that snobby basket case of hormones that was too in tune with the happenings around Downey High School’s campus to notice his mothers’ new haircut. There is a slight chance that blow horns and balloons were brought out à la Homer Simpson to celebrate their newfound freedom. Images of my dad yelling at my younger brother “you’re next!” tickle the comedic sign of my pen but the truth is that they were distraught.

My mother called me three times a day to make sure that my tummy was full and that my shoes were tied correctly. My father, a stoic figure and emotionless boot camp sergeant actually called me a few times to make sure I was still alive. If tears could be put into words and transcribed over the phone, I could have sworn that they were crying themselves to sleep. A normal sense of loss was felt throughout my family but this too, changed.

After a few weeks to cope with our new realities, enormous transformations occurred. These transformations are evidenced by the spaces that we three individuals now occupy in this society. My mother, a once stay at home mom and virtual introvert now has the photo albums that belong in some sort of travel museum. She struts around the charisma and swag of a rock and roll musician from the eighties, frequenting the gym and speaking of the places in the world she has yet to visit. My father, a similar introvert that only knew work and sleep before my departure to college, has broadened his horizons in the same way that acid flashbacks manipulate one’s perspective. My dad has friends all over Los Angeles County that have me wondering if he lives two lives at once. It seems that every restaurant manager knows him and gives him preferential treatment. Our local gym manager always comes to see how he is doing. To put it frankly, I could not be more happy and proud of these individuals.

They have grown as individuals because of my departure and they are living their lives to the fullest extent. They are testing their limits time and time again, rivaling my pursuit to just be. I still live away from home and visiting my old abode is an adventure in itself. My parent’s energy can be felt in the house and that sadness I once sensed has disappeared. Understanding that their 18-year-old anchor was going to be O.K gave them the freedom to look into their selves and resurrect the individual that was lost but now is found.

(  photo via piccsy)