Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I've had four, very brief phone conversations with my 20-year-old son today, each one ending abruptly.
He's just a little frenetic. I don't think a lot of planning goes into his life. And I'm trying not to be a helicopter mom, but rather a safety-net mom, there to catch him before he leaps from a dangerous place.
They started a new semester at college yesterday and after his accounting class, he told me that the book is $300. That includes access to the online portion with quizzes, so we can't buy the used book.
I knew, but he didn't, that we had some credit with the school from financial aid. So this morning, I got online and ordered books for his class. It requires some back and forth between his schedule and the bookstore, but I finally managed to order books for three of his classes and the cost was $550. I clicked on financial aid for the payment then text messaged him at 8 a.m. before I left for work.
Around noon, I called him to see if he'd gotten my text message.
"No, what?" he asked.
I told him he could pick up the books at the bookstore.
"Okay, but I'm getting ready to go to lunch so I'll check after lunch."
And with that he was gone.
Here's Spence at his dorm after being sick all day,
but I was leaving him and wanted a picture
A little while later, he called and said the guy at the bookstore said Spencer needed to approve financial aid to pay for his books. I tried to talk to him about the meal plan too, but he said, "I gotta go, I'm gonna give blood right now."
"Donating blood, right?" I asked.
"What the f-- other kind of giving blood is there?" he asked.
"Language," I warned.
"Oh, sorry." I could hear his buddies around him laughing.
"Sometimes people sell their blood," I explained, remembering my college roommate who went every week to sell her plasma for the cigarette money.
"No, I'm just donating," he said.
"Okay, I'll call financial aid and make sure you can get the books," I told him as his voice faded from the phone.
I called the college and got everything straightened out.
It had been about 45 minutes since I talked to Spencer, so I thought he might be finished donating blood. I called him.
"Mom, I'm right in the middle of giving blood."
"Okay, I thought you might be finished. Call me back so I can tell you what you need to do."
In a little while, the phone rang.
"I've only got one percent left on my phone so make it quick," he said.
That's when I just became exhausted with these bursts of conversation followed by some sort of activity.
"Pick up the books tomorrow and call me when you can talk for more than five minutes," I said.
My head just reels from the various directions he is headed in, like a fly buzzing around the room, zipping here, zipping there.
Two and a half more years for him to get through college, hopefully. Maybe he'll be a little more focused by then.


Peggy Farooqi said...

Oh, don't I just know what you are taking about… my eldest son is 19 and just as much as 'direction-less'. He did badly in his A-Levels , didn't get into the Uni he wanted (and he later told me that he only wanted to go to Uni to have the student-experience of being away from home, living in halls of residence etc.) A lot of money to pay (currently here in the UK £9000 per year) to party with your friends! Than he failed the entry exam for the police due to spelling errors. I despair but I guess I will just have to let him get on with it now. He does work part-time in a shop I have to say, and he tells me this is only while he sorts out what to do in life. And tells me that I should be grateful that he doesn't take drugs. Hmm, yeah, I suppose I am grateful for that! Sorry, can't really help; but just to let you know that we are sort of in the same boat. DH says I'm too soft, but mums are like that, I want to make sure that he can come to me when he thinks he needs help.

Sheila said...

I remember being that involved with Daniels school. I had his log in info so I could check financial aid and look at his classes and grades. But it must have been some time in his 3rd year that I was no longer a part of any of that. It's been years since I logged into his acct. He takes care of everything except filling out the fafsa I still do that. At one point when we were talking about possibly transferring schools I suggested that I could go with him to DeVry to talk to an admission counselor, and he reminded me that he is 22 years old and can go talk to them by himself, unless I really wanted to go with him. :) He's still willing to keep me involved and he does call when he's panicking or needs me to look up where a mystery building on campus is while he wanders lost, but he has taken over dealing with all his financial aid, book searches (always trying to find the least expensive way to purchase what is really needed) meetings with counselors, Dr. appointments etc. I think part of that was me being willing to let go of the control and let him do it on his own. It is a huge weight off and one less thing that I have to worry about.

All of this is a natural progression as they grow up. I bet in the next year or so you'll see this transition also.

Paulita said...

Peggy and Sheila, Definitely helpful to hear that I'm not alone in the head spinning that happens while I watch my son zipping around his life. Hopefully, he'll take over and take off in the right direction.

Just Me said...

I'm exhausted just reading about it. Been there and done that with my loved ones so I can relate and understand how one can get in that position.

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