College Bound- “Carpe Deium.”

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Perhaps one of the most interesting experiences for the 59 year old kid and his wife Janet, has been raising our son Jack. He has been a true blessing in the highest sense of the word and as a strong willed child, he has provided some interesting input and challenges at times in a household where all focus was on his daily needs. We are headed off to Ohio University in Athens tomorrow and as many of you have experienced in this endeavor, there is a lot of anguish, trepidation, but excitement for the years ahead. The experiences that will be available for Jack in an academic setting away from home are wonderful and fulfilling.

Recently contemplating as I drive to work, ride my mountain bike on the trails, and sit by my fireplace, I think back to when we first brought Jack home and his “tricks” on the living room floor. My mind is flooded with images of sandboxes, teaching him to ride a bike and the turnaround in Malone’s driveway. Taking him hiking, teaching him to ski, how to throw a baseball, how to bat, what pitches to take and what to leave. The Jersey Shore, Vail, Tahoe, Utah. The basketball years appear in my mind with AAU and school – the tournament travel, the practices( never missed), and the games -wins and heartbreaking losses. X-Box, girlfriends, our times as a family in the foundation of our church. It has been a blur and at 19 years old, he is ready to go and we look forward to his success in a new environment. We will miss him, but Athens is not that far away and we are always here for him and look forward to seeing him on his breaks and on the parents weekends. But this is his time,not ours and the transition will be an interesting time for Janet and me as well as for Jack.

This is nothing new for a lot of people who have raised children and see them off to school or a new job. But it is a new experience for me, and I have felt in the last few years that I have been running out of time. Time to be together, time to impart what little wisdom I can offer, and time to establish a good relationship with my son. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and have my bladder placed squarely behind my eyeballs. I am an open person and what you see is what you get. Jack is a little different as the strong willed child and his demeanor with me is sometimes not what I had envisioned as a father and son. We do have unconditional love for each other and that being the bottom line, I can deal with the fact that we are truly different people……….and that’s ok.

Dr. Terry Thomas, in a message delivered in our church this past weekend, stated very eloquently that you are not justified by the opinions of others or by your children. If you are seeking approval from them, or validation, justification, or whatever you require, or want to feel better about yourself, you are barking up the wrong tree. God is the source of justification, not what we do. He loves us warts and all, and understands that as parents, we do the best that we can for our children and as we transition in sending them off, we can sit back and see the fruits of our labor and the exciting possibilities of higher education under His care.

Janet and I have taken the opportunities to relay to Jack our experiences in college. The fun times, the pitfalls of getting behind in the first semester, and the ultimate end game of studying hard and getting the “skin.” The “skin” and good grades gets the good job, but the larger advantage to higher education in my mind, is that the college experience takes the burrs off. It polishes you, it teaches you how to relate to other people, how to study, how to execute a plan. College is not for everyone, but for those who choose to attend the college of their choice, the end results give memories that last a lifetime and friends who remain in your life forever. We have said it all to Jack and now is the time as we drive down I-79 tomorrow and into the Buckeye State, to take a breather, let go, hug him and wish him the very best that Ohio University has to offer. Being the opportunistic guy that I am, I have found all the great trails to ride and my wife and I are finding the best restaurants and points of interest so that when we do visit, we can enjoy seeing Jack grow and when he needs some space, we can enjoy Athens ourselves. As we drive back, we will also begin to focus on each other. The one constant is that Janet and I are a team. We were together at the beginning of our marriage and will continue to be there as a team in this time when new oportunities will arise for us.

As a hovering parent of an only child, I must admit that I have been dreading this day since Jack’s freshman year in high school. But as the process of college has ensued, I am trying to look at it as the natural progression that all of us go through as we mature from childhood to adulthood. I can’t control any more and the process of “letting go” is a new experience for the 59 year old kid. I joke about the fact that I may age chronologically, but never mature. So as I see the process with Jack, maybe we both can mature together? My wife will appreciate it. Wish us well,pray for us if you like, and thanks for reading.

13 thoughts on “College Bound- “Carpe Deium.”

  1. Julie says:

    Well written Pat
    God Speed for ALL of you!
    {{{Hugs}}}

  2. Mike Procopio says:

    Pat, I have been reading (and enjoying) your blog since its inception. Of all your entries, I enjoyed this one the most. Having just completed the 4-year journey upon which you are about to embark, I want to let you know that, as valued and rewarding as your relationship with Jack is, it will only get stronger and more fulfilling over the course of the next four years. That’s not to say that everything will be smooth sailing, though. It will be a roller coaster ride of sorts, but you and Janet will reflect on it as a great thrill when it’s over. And as soon as it’s over, you’ll be worried about the next four years…..

    That’s just what great parents like you and Janet do!

    Best wishes to all three of you guys–today, tomorrow, and always!

    • patmccloskey says:

      Mike- thank you for following and I am glad that you enjoy the blog. I must say, your comments here brought the bladder behind the eyeballs to the surface again. You are so kind in your encouragement and we value your wisdom and your unending friendship.

      • Mike Procopio says:

        Pat, I have been reading (and enjoying) your blog since its inception. Of all your entries, I enjoyed this one the most. Having just completed the 4-year journey upon which you are about to embark, I want to let you know that, as valued and rewarding as your relationship with Jack is, it will only get stronger and more fulfilling over the course of the next four years. That’s not to say that everything will be smooth sailing, though. It will be a roller coaster ride of sorts, but you and Janet will reflect on it as a great thrill when it’s over. And as soon as it’s over, you’ll be worried about the next four years…..

        That’s just what great parents like you and Janet do!

        Best wishes to all three of you guys–today, tomorrow, and always!

  3. Valerie Reading says:

    Aw, tugging at my heart strings! It’s a bittersweet journey that ends well for all involved. Love you!

  4. Lisa Tourek says:

    Great commentary. You and Janet are going to enjoy this new chapter. Good job Mom and Dad!

  5. Art Bonn says:

    As I dry the tears from my eyes after reading, I can’t help look back on Mark, Jon, and Emily and what an emotional time it was in this transition of letting them go. You guys will make the adjustment well including Jack. You’ll never forget this weekend, that’s a good thing. We’re sending some prayer up too. By the way Emily is back home after graduation, can’t get rid of her, just kidding!

    • patmccloskey says:

      Thanks Art. We are happy for Jack. He seems really glad to be at college and with his NA guys as his roommates. Janet and I have shed a lot of tears like you guys and most folks. But seeing him in an environment like that and all smiles keeps us going. Thanks for the comment Art

  6. That was a great post. Jack and Robin were at Eden together on Siebert Road. We switched and went to Seneca Valley out in Butler County but … I think I was depressed for two weeks straight after I dropped Robin off at WVU! It felt like my very own family was breaking up and it would never be quite the same again. Once she started bonding with people there and going to a football game, getting involved, et cetera, I started to feel better. I think I have one thing in common with your family (actually we both went to Valley Brook pool) — Robin was my strong willed child that is for sure! That was always an extra burden for me and her dad. As an example she figured out how to ride my precious Schwinn over to her boyfriend’s house and come back in the morning! Almost like there were always two people – Robin and “Robin ultra” or something. Ha ha. Still miss seeing her face and hearing her voice everyday…. That’s great that you now have a blog!

    • patmccloskey says:

      Thank you Sarah. I remember all the Neigers from the pool for sure. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Glad that I provided some perspective for the both of us with our strong willed children. Hope all is well? I am assuming that you now signed up to be a follower of the blog? Where did you hear about it? Just curious. Thanks again.

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