Orienting the Parentals

100_4348This week, I am going to start a summer series with the blog called, “Summer Saints Series: Saints for the Working Catholic Mom.” In the spirit of summer, and the best sport ever (baseball), I will give the following cues: Who’s Up; Who’s on Deck; and Who’s in the Hole. This week, we will start with St. Gianna Molla as who’s up; On Deck we have Blessed Mother Teresa; and In the Hole we have Blessed Zelie Martin. Each of the women I present have inspired me to be a better woman of faith. I hope they are inspiring for you as well! In honor of Our Blessed Mother, I dedicate this summer of blogging to her, who has guided me, and given me so much, most importantly an example of love for her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

But to deal with today’s subject, I present a random set of thoughts about my daughter’s college orientation experience:

Today (ok, in full disclosure, actually June 14th), I finished parent orientation for the first time ever NOT as a college administrator, but as a parent. The ball game is a different one for me. It requires a different strategy. The line-up is unfamiliar, and the curve balls can come from anywhere! As a parent, it is difficult to predict the score at the end of the game. As a parent, what is holding me together is first and foremost – my faith; second – the knowledge that she’s not really “mine,” and third – the encouragement that other’s at her university where I work have her best interests at heart.

I also know my daughter – both as a college administrator and most importantly as a mom. She is nervous, overwhelmed and tired. She looks drained, and I can tell she isn’t connecting with those in her orientation group. I am saddened by this. As a college administrator, my instincts kick in – I’m wired for this – in a trained sort of way. As a mom – my instincts are strongest – I’m wired for this – in a “God-made-me-a-mom” sort of way. Those instincts, I can tell, are the ones I will go with in this situation. I cannot be the college administrator with her. I am, and will always be, Mary, her mother.

What will this mean for me as the mother of a college student? I have thought about that plenty in the last few days, and I’ve prayed about it like crazy!

Here are some of my conclusions so far:

1. She is staying at home, so I know she has an extra year (at least) to be accountable to family expectations, the most important of which is Mass together as a family.

2. Behind the scenes, I need to help her connect with others, but I also need to give her leverage to make adult decisions about a wide-variety of things, including how she spends her free time (which I trust her decisions to be age-appropriate).

3. We need to have “the talk” with her. Yes, the FINANCIAL talk! This is what we are willing to be responsible for; here is what you are responsible for.

4. God is in control. OK…this should have been #1! He’s got her in the palm of His hand. And I’ve given her to Our Blessed Mother from day one of her life, whom I trust with everything. She wants the best for her, too – and she is in a position to know what that is.

I’m sure I will have more epiphanies – but this is where I am right now.

At the moment, I’m overwhelmed. I want to find my husband, and lay my head on his heart and just listen to his heartbeat. His heartbeat comforts me for some reason. It is strong and steady – just like him. He will remind me of our daughter’s faith foundation, her strong character, and her goals. He will remind me that we have three other children at home and how we have them to nurture as well. He will call me off my ledge when I am acting like the college administrator, and remind me that in this instance, I’m Momma. He will be right, and I pray for a meek and humble heart to hear and act on his wisdom.

Oh, Holy Momma…
Leader of my heart to Jesus –
Protect her and all of our children under your strong and beautiful mantle.
Wrap her tight. Bring her in the sight of your loving Son…
Who is the Savior of the World, Lover of her soul, and help for all who are near Him.

If you’ve had a child transition from high school to college, and have some insight, I would love to have you join the conversation! It surely helps a mother’s heart!

Peace of Christ to you and yours,

Mary

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