Written by: Suzie Lawyer (Jenny's older sister!)
A note from Jenny: I am so excited to introduce you to my sister, Suzie! I am so lucky to have her. As you get to know her through her blogs here on sheKC, you will see why I say that. She is incredibly smart, probably the best mom I know and full of quirks, just like the rest of us! She has been through... a lot. And that is putting it mildly. I'll let her fill you in as she feels led to do so. But, she's included a bio at the end of this blog which will give you a little insight.
And now... a subject that I can't even bring myself to fully imagine because I had a hard enough time with the first day of Kindergarten, just a few short weeks ago...
The College Launch
So many years of diapers and baby food and sippy cups. Then potty training and Preschool and loose teeth. Kindergarten and sports and learning how to ride a bike. Elementary school and lunch boxes and new friends. Then Middle School and awkwardness and pimples. High School and classes and proms and graduation. How on earth does time go so fast? And why did I wish the stages away?
When I was in the diaper / toddler / Preschool era with SIX KIDS under the age of SIX, there were days when I wished that I could get in a time machine and zoom ahead to Homecoming dress shopping with High Schoolers. The days are really long when kids are little and needy. But be careful…. because when you blink, the college launch is right there to greet you.
I did not make 'shopping for a college' my full time job. I know plenty of parents who dragged their high school students on a myriad of college visits. I did not sit and fill out all the applications for them. I did not spend hours researching majors and minors and job hiring statistics. Being a single mom, I couldn’t pull that off. But besides, I already went to college and did all of that back in the 80’s.
In my mind, I wanted my kids to be invested in this college investment. So, our motto was, 'go on the virtual tour.'
I had the kids search for colleges and then take the online virtual tour. If they LOVED it, like really, really loved it, then we could potentially go and visit. This saved a lot of money and a lot of time. I am probably a total failure as a parent for enforcing this policy, but it was the best I could do.
But honestly, it worked! My kids chose a few schools to visit and apply to, and then we waited for the envelopes to arrive! The whole process is an event for sure! There are applications, essays, scholarships, meal plans, housing, SAT’s, ACT’s, AP Tests…. Senior year is a lot of work. But again, it’s just a blink!
Graduation happens. That’s a whole story in and of itself! Then, Summer gives you plenty of time to prepare. I mean, plenty of time to collect all of the dorm essentials and textbooks! But somehow, it’s just not enough emotional time to prepare.
I got so caught up in the physical preparations that I did not really prepare my heart.
Maybe it was just easier to busy myself so that I didn’t really need to think through what was actually going to happen. But the day comes… the launch happens. And for me, it was a knife in the heart. Wow.
When my oldest son moved into college, we helped him set up his bed and desk. His sisters helped him to decorate. We just awkwardly lingered until there really was no choice but to leave.
Oh my word… that feeling. It was so so bittersweet.
This was the moment that we had spent so many years preparing for. This was the beginning of his adulthood. I was so excited for what he was about to experience. But yet everything inside of me screamed for one more chance to rock him to sleep. One more chance to read him a story. One more chance to have him be my little boy again. Oh a mama’s heart…
And then the ride home. Tears. Such an empty feeling. It was terrible. And then walking into his room. It all just felt so hollow. You would think going from six kids to five wouldn’t be much of a difference. But holy cow!! The whole dynamic of the house changed. Josh’s presence was so missed.
Then fast forward one year later. Mayson, my oldest daughter, was a freshman. Repeat. It wasn’t any easier. I still wanted to turn the clock back and have all of my babies at home again.
Now, jump to Fall 2016. Josh is a junior and Mayson is a sophomore. Two college drop-offs. There weren’t as many tears, but it still feels so empty. AND it has me really doing some deep soul searching.
In 4 years, my youngest twins will head off to college. Then what? My whole identity has been as a mom.
Has it always been easy? No way!! But man, I love my kids and the friendships that we share. I am so excited for their futures and how they have the potential to make huge impacts on the world. But the voice in my heart is starting to shout a little, 'What about me? What am I going to do? How will I spend my days? What excites me? What are my passions? How can I make a difference?'
The possibilities are endless, I suppose. It’s really a blank slate for me. It’s scary and exciting all at once. But as a friend of mine and I just discussed today, I wish that I would have savored more moments along the way. Maybe stopped some of the hustle and bustle and really lingered in the present a little longer.
Because truly, I blinked and now my babies are grown up!
Hi! I am Suzie Lawyer, and I am a 45-year-old widowed mom of six kids! NO, that’s not a typo!!! I really have six kids! My oldest son, Josh, is 20. He’s a junior in college. My daughter, Mayson, is 19 and is a sophomore in college. I have two sets of twins! Max and Katie are 16 and are juniors in high school. Chloe and Izzy are 14 and are freshmen in high school.
It’s a crazy life, that’s for sure. But honestly, I adore my kids and LOVE having them around. The early years were really hard. I was always tired and worn out. I felt like I could never sit down for a break. Now that they’re older, we have all become the best of friends. My sweet husband, Kevin, died tragically in 2008, and through the grief and struggles over the years, the seven of us have forged such an incredibly close bond. We all fiercely look out for one another and are really protective. Our faith has really kept us alive. Life is still tiring even though the kids are older, but in a totally different way! They want to have chats about life at midnight and watch movies into the wee hours. It’s fun a lot of the time, but parenting alone is not for sissies!!
In my ‘free time’ I LOVE to read and cook! In fact, cookbooks are some of my favorite reading material! Traveling is a passion for me, and Yelp is my best friend on trips! I have a shopping addiction (I am not lying)! I love Anthropologie, Lucky and little boutiques. Spending time with my family and friends fills me up! I have just started doing barre classes at the gym to balance the volume of chocolate that I consume! Currently I am trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up! I have a B.S in Elementary Education and an M.S. in Counseling, and I am really considering that I may just become a professional student!
I am excited to write for sheKC and share my struggles and successes as a woman, mom, friend, and fellow sojourner on this thing called life!