All three of my kids are smart. Grace has a terrific memory; she excels at writing, literature and, at one point, understanding DNA. Spencer was always a math hound who loves history. He wipes most people away at chess, as he sees the board and all it's possible moves. He can tell you pretty much every play he ever made in every game in his high school basketball years.
Tucker, my youngest, was the most well-rounded. In addition to an excellent
Last year, when we went for his annual checkup, the doctor asked what colleges he was thinking about. He told her he'd been accepted at Pitt, University of Missouri and Ohio University. The doctor turned to me and said, "It doesn't matter where he goes; He'll be fine."
And I agreed.
School was pretty easy for him.
Then college happened and things seemed to go downhill quickly.
Circumstances lined up against him. He started having panic attacks in the summer. Then he had his wisdom teeth pulled the week before he left for college. They became infected the first week he was there.
He came home nearly every weekend for doctor or dentist visits.
He also had a steady girlfriend who was still in high school, so he came home regularly to see her.
Living in the dorms did not agree with Tucker.
He had three roommates. One of them was his best friend, Josh. The other two were also friends from home. With four guys in the room, Tucker never had any alone time. As an introvert, he needed alone time to restart his engines.
At my insistence, he took his guitar alone to school. At home, we would frequently hear him playing the guitar in the basement. At school, he took it out to play only once, when another friend begged him to play a song.
All of these circumstances, plus some apathy since he didn't know what he wanted to do, caused him to end up with bad grades in almost all of his classes.
We agreed to let him come home in December and take classes at the local community college.
He signed up for 4 classes, and yesterday I asked him how his grades ended up. He only passed one of those classes.
None of them were too hard for him. He had Calculus in high school and failed an Algebra class in college. History, one of his passions, he failed too. Economics joined the dominoes of failures.
So after a year of college, he has two classes that he passed.
I don't even want to add up the amount of money we paid for those two classes.
This summer, Tucker, 19, is signed up for a welding class.
I don't think he'll like it. He has never been the kind of guy who played with Legos or built things. But we're giving him a chance. He can earn a two-year degree in welding at the community college.
This class is his final opportunity with us footing the bill though. He'll need to do well in this class for us to help pay for the rest of the welding classes.
And if he decides he wants to go back to college in the future, he'll be responsible for the tuition there too.
That's a hard choice, because we've paid for college for Grace and Spencer. They've taken out the government loans available to them and we've paid the rest, taking out some loans ourselves.
But Tucker's choices force us to draw the line.
While he's in school, we're paying his rent, but if he's finished with school then he'll need to pay for his own apartment too. Not to mention his phone. When do we stop paying for his contacts and his monthly medicine too?
I'm not sure, but I know he's going to face the real world much sooner than the other two did.
I'm not counting Tucker out as a failure. He has just chosen a different path.
Tucker and a friend have started a landscaping business. They're working quite a bit and that could turn into a money maker for him. I fully support him in becoming an entrepreneur, and maybe he'll be the most successful of all of our children.
I just never pictured any of our children not going to college, and especially not Tucker.
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