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I Let My Son Go to School however I Didn’t Need To

August 31, 2020
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I'm sorry, but I can't do it. I can't post the shiny, happy drop-out pictures. I have them and may post them later, but if I did now I wouldn't be staying true to my current feelings.

The submission is not easy right now. (Photo via Kathy Stein)

I feel like I made a terrible mistake when I let my son go to college during a pandemic. I tormented and obsessively researched about it all summer trying to make the best decision.

The school is taking precautions, but did we make a mistake?

Is the school taking precautions? Yes many. Will they test the students when they get there? No, for fear that this will create a false sense of security - which is a full OS, but that's a whole different post. Will the classes all be removed? (He has some personal appointments.) It's only a matter of time.

Every day I waited for another email from the school with a final decision. Or a change in the current decision.

"The school is mostly remote, but we give priority to the newbie." I have a newbie. Do I want him to teach in person? What if he has lessons with the kids who go to those "huge, drunken bodies just an inch apart" off campus that I read about over and over in higher-level social media groups? (What if HE goes to one of them? !!!)

You can apply pretty much anything school changed about my obsessive worry pattern.

“The dining room is closed. Students must order in advance so that they can eat and eat. " Go? Where to go? Will he bring his dinner to the huge drunk party?

"If a student tests positive and lives on campus, they will move to the COVID dorm to recover." LIVING IN THE COVID Dormitory? With the COVID-positive drunk?

NOOOOO !!!!!

I trust my son but I still worry

Do I trust my son is safe? Absolutely. (I know he won't be going to any of the parties mentioned above soon.) Nobody has seen the lower half of his face in months except our immediate family.

He's got the cleanest hands of anyone I know. He and his "bubble" of friends wear masks during their basketball games. He's an extrovert, but he knows that in order to protect himself (and his family and 80-year-old grandmother) he has to say "no" to friends when it is unsafe to rest. It's so hard, but I'm proud of him for making the right decisions.

Does he want to go YES! Kelly Clarkson has to write a follow-up song: “Mr. Independent ”in his honor. All of his friends (whose schools are opening) are leaving. He would be unhappy if we didn't let him go.

I hoped he might choose not to go

I had a brief glimmer of hope last weekend when he was worried and maybe wanted to stay home. But he spoke to his roommate and they agreed to the same security measures. As much as I want him to stay home and take his lessons remotely, I know he wouldn't be happy. He wants as much college experience as possible. He knows it won't be what I had then.

So we looked at his options and decided to let him go. I was kind of okay with that. Bought all the dorm stuff. Pack it up. Then, the night before we left, I read about school after school or Covid clusters in dormitories. It's only a matter of time before it happens at his school, isn't it? Will it be enough to wear a mask and settle in his dormitory?

Yesterday morning we packed the car and I dropped the dog down to go on board. On the way home I start to sob and think he shouldn't go. I come home and question my decision again.

How is that alright? We have spent the past 18 years looking after him, protecting him, and teaching him. We've spent the last six months researching the internet for the best masks, paper towels, hand sanitizers, and disinfectants to keep him healthy and safe.

How is it okay to let him live with uncertainty? Why don't all schools agree to do the same? Why do they leave it to the parents to decide? It feels like I'm sending my son to war.

I will be outvoted. He wants to go; The car is packed. So let's go.

Moving in was easy

Moving in was easy. Not very many people there. His roommate and mother are very nice, mask-wearing people. I trust that both of them will protect themselves as best they can. Mr. Independent couldn't wait to leave, but we convinced him we can buy him dinner. He was excited to begin this new adventure despite the obstacles.

Like most of us, I don't know how this will play out. At the moment we are waiting. The pandemic has robbed me of all the feelings I had imagined about my son's graduation and college, and replaced them with other kinds of worry and panic.

My sadness will most likely go away in a few days and I am ready to show you the shiny happy pictures, but not today.

You may also want to read:

6 Reasons Mothers Cry When Leaving Their Teens in College Helene Wingens explains the pain parents feel for their teen in a moment of great happiness.

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