Monday, October 26, 2015

Parenting - The Purgatory, Um, Blessing That Never Ends

The trouble with being a parent is that by the time you are experienced, you are unemployed. ~ Anonymous

Then and now????????
My oldest son is a college senior. Somehow, I thought he would never grow up and all the little problems of his tiny life would stay small. No such luck. Instead, they years flew by and I am sitting here wondering two things. When on earth did he go from diapers to driving? And how am I possibly old enough to be the parent of an adult?

Okay, so those questions will never be answered, but that hasn't stopped anyone from asking them and I know they  have been asked for, well, a really long time.

Anyway, bigger kids - bigger problems. The time proven axiom of all parents. I mean, when they were three, we worried about chicken pox and potty training.  Now we worry about them finding jobs,  moving into apartments, and suffering the pain of significant others dumping them on the night before they go back to college. Yeah, been there - experienced that particular level of hell. Some worry about them moving home. Others worry about them not moving home. It is endless.

Why can't they stay this small and happy?
At any rate, senior year must present a whole vast spectrum of anxiety for college students.  I remember them. First you wonder how it is possible that those four years are almost over (yeah, yeah, back to time passing too quickly again). Then you worry that you won't find a job. You go through angst over attending the dreaded college job fair along with a thousand other seniors in your position. And then there is THE INTERVIEW.

(I confess that I didn't suffer through that particular senior purgatory. I applied to grad school which was a whole lot less angst-ridden. That presented a whole other set of issues that we can skip until the next kid becomes a senior since he has already made the very bad decision to follow his parents to law school. So, it was a misery delayed for three years, but I was familiar with the problem since friends and fellow dorm residents wallpapered the hallways my senior year with rejection letters. Seriously, there were thousands of them. Okay, hundreds, but it looked like thousands,)

So, one day my son calls, asking if he is supposed to button his jacket. [Insert long pause here while I try to figure out what the heck he is talking about.] Mercifully, an explanation follows that he is attending yet another job fair and he doesn't know if he is supposed to button his suit coat. Aha! Yes, button the coat. Off he goes, distributing resumes like fireman distribute candy during a Fourth of July parade - throw and run and hope for the best.

And then there is a miracle. An e-mail. From one of the businesses. For an interview.  With a company no one ever heard of.  No matter.  He has made it past step one in FINDING A JOB. Then, miracle of miracles, another interview. Oh, joy! Oh, rapture! Oh, the stuff of nightmares!!!!!

Monday passes. Then, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday morning around noon, I get the call about the first interview. It goes something like this:

Son: Hi, Mom.
Me: How did it go?
Son: It took five years off my life.
Me (stifling laughter with every fiber of my being): Well, it is over now and you gained good experience. 
Son: My life will be ten years shorter come this time tomorrow.
Me (covering my mouth to avoid making cackling noises): Mmmm,  nnnnn,  wwwwww.
Son: What?
Me: Nothing. Soda went down the wrong way. Hey, look, it is just an interview. Maybe you will get lucky on your first time out, maybe not.  Maybe you will get an offer and then you will know it wasn't as horrible as your suspect?
Son: Yeah, mom.  Right. By the time I find a job, I won't have any life left since I lose five years with every interview.
Me: Okay, well, call your dad and let him know how it went.

Or this small small and happy?
At this point, I hang up so I wouldn't strangle myself while suppressing my laughter because no self-respecting mom laughs at her son's misery. And yet, we wise parents know that this particular misery tends to work out one way or the other in the end. It is a right of passage that all must experience - parents and kids alike.

He survived that first interview and the second as well. He will survive them all. The funny thing is that instead of looking at bumper stickers for ideas on where my children might apply to college as I did in the good old days, I now look for corporate headquarters as I run my errands, looking for places he can send resumes. Seriously, while driving to a farm stand recently, I noted all the corporate headquarters that have replaced the disappearing farm stands.

Yup. The parental torment never ends.  It just moves on from little problems to big ones. Once a parent - always a parent.

And thank goodness for that.  I think.  Maybe. Ugh.

Because of their size, parents may be difficult to discipline properly.  P.J. O'Rourke