I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Do you know what time of year it is?  It’s the time when 18-year olds start leaving home and moving on to the next phase of their lives.  It’s a time fraught with mixed emotions.

On the one hand, it’s exciting.  If your child is going off to college, that’s a good thing, right?  It’s what we aim for all through high school.  It’s certainly what I used this past year with my high school freshman son in an effort to make him interested in his grades (limited success).  Whether a kid is going away to college, taking classes at a community college, going into the armed services or joining the workforce on a fulltime basis, it’s going to be different and marks a significant change in their lives- and their parents’ lives. 

My own daughter is beyond thrilled to be going away to college, almost to the point where I’m wondering if she enjoyed any of the previous 18 ½ years in our house.  At this time next week, we’ll be packing the car to drive her to her new home for the next four years (emphasis on four years only).

Selfishly, however, it obviously means that the kids are growing up and literally won’t be in the house anymore in many cases.  And as excited as my daughter is, she is also in the process of saying goodbye (for now) to her friends, many of whom she has had since preschool and kindergarten.  Because we’ve lived in the same area for her whole life, she has built a strong and safe network of friends.  It will be strange for her to make new friends and build a new network.

Almost 16 years ago, we moved into a new house.  At the time, we had a 2 ½ year old, a 17-month old, and I was almost seven months pregnant (ridiculous, I know).  We moved into our new house on Halloween, and some of our new neighbors delivered some candy for our kids in case the day was too crazy to take them out trick-or-treating.  One of those neighbors had a son who was also 2 years old, and they were also expecting a baby about a month before we were.

Over the years, our families became close, even vacationing together many years.  My oldest daughter and their oldest son occasionally had classes together and we consulted with each other about “next steps” as far as parenting went.  Although we moved to a new neighborhood and the kids became involved in different activities, we have stayed close.  We have genuinely shared in the success and struggles of each others’ kids. 

Less than a month ago, our families again vacationed together, and last week their son stopped by to say goodbye as he was headed to college this weekend.  It was great to chat with him for a few minutes and hear about his plans, even as his eyes were red from various other goodbyes he’d said that day.  Although I haven’t necessarily had a direct influence on him, for some reason I still felt proud and excited for him, just as their family will be for my daughter.  It’s made me realize how lucky we are to have another layer of support and friendship, both for us and our kids. 

Before our friends’ son left, I made him a little bag of goodies.  Since I’m not all that clever or creative, I turned to my old standby: music.  I made him a cd that contained a Top 10 song from each year since he’s been born.  I was listening to those songs this morning while I worked in the kitchen, and if you don’t think music can make you nostalgic you should try this exercise- it will!  Here is the list I compiled (keep in mind that some years had less to choose from than others- that’s my defense for Ricky Martin and Spice Girls).  Enjoy!

  • ’93:         “Whoomp! (There It Is)” – Tag Team
  • ’94:         “All For Love” – Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting
  • ’95:         “Kiss From a Rose” – Seal
  • ’96:         “Give Me One Reason” – Tracy Chapman
  • ’97:         “Wannabe” – Spice Girls
  • ’98:         “You’re Still The One” – Shania Twain
  • ’99:         “Livin’ la Vida Loca” – Ricky Martin
  • ’00:         “Smooth” – Santana, feat. Rob Thomas
  • ’01:         “Fallin’” – Alicia Keys
  • ’02:         “Hot in Herre” – Nelly
  • ’03:         “Hey Ya!” – Outkast
  • ’04:         “This Love” – Maroon 5
  • ’05:         “Run It” – Chris Brown
  • ’06:         “Crazy” – Gnarls Barkley
  • ’07:         “Umbrella” – Rihanna, feat. Jay-Z
  • ’08:         “Low” – Flo Rida, feat. T-Pain
  • ’09:         “I Gotta Feeling” – Black Eyed Peas
  • ’10:         “Tik Tok” – Ke$ha

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