I have so much rattling around in my head right now. The emotions of getting ready to part with your first born child is really only one of those rattles. It's the one that I have written most about on 'thyme'.
However, the impending separation doesn't have everything to do with college transition. It doesn't really even have as much to do with the "leaving" part. Many of us parents might agree that at these late teen stages, these young adults are very ready and eager to spread their wings and fly.
It seems that, more than any other turning point as parents, this last childhood transition pointedly magnifies the final end of what has been a very defined role we have had for 18 years now.
This turning point is as much about us as parents too...our title, role, stage as parents will be transitioning on to another seemingly undefined stage that we will experience.
I see now what many people said years ago. It's true. When having that little baby in our arms, life defined as "mommy"...then as "Mom"...seems like its going to last forever. Not to be too terribly depressing, but, it is indeed only one of many stages in our lives...like childhood, teen age, and college years for ourselves, they are now behind us.
The other rattles clanging around in my mind right now (more so than my daughter's departure) is about my son. My son will begin the last 3 years of his high school years. This is where much of my time is and will be spent. So much tough work is ahead of him and as a homeschool mom, these 3 years will be my most challenging years of all of his schooling.
Academically, yes...for sure. It is tough to go through upper level high school classes (again...make that x 3). Focus seems to inevitably shift from "learning through living" to learning to "master that ACT/SAT test we all know and love.
What I find the most amazing, however, is not only the mental growth that occurs, but the rapidly defining spiritual, moral, political, and ethical awareness that explodes for that young adult. The change in maturity from freshman to senior is remarkable...and that is putting it mildly.
For many, that awareness has been carefully molded and defined early in childhood by the family and passed down in the form of religious and/or political orientation. For others, they are defined along life's path as experiences occur and shape outlooks on life, people, and events...while actively parenting.
I feel the burden of moving my son along these next 3 years with all of these higher learning skills yet to be learned and experienced...discussed and examined.
Along with these mounting responsibilities all parents of teens have to shoulder, there is added pressure by society to put a home schooled young man back into typical brick and mortar high school.
Reasons cited are "mental toughening for the brutal college environment" and "social coping skills for the onslaught of peer pressure".
The potential for creating a "mama's boy" or a "soft young man" is hinted in subtle ways that are difficult to ignore.
Thoughts and fears rattle in my mind that these might be legitimate concerns. Will my son be socially devoured and spit out in the workplace someday? We really just don't know.
But, I rather like the young man my son has become, even if it isn't anywhere remotely close to the Justin Beiber stereotype. I'm pretty darn fond of his strong moral compass, open minded acceptance of diversity, and disconcerted attitude on most popular trends.
I'm a bit of a rebel myself (insert wry smirk) so I guess it shouldn't surprise me that I hold more of these qualities dear as opposed to priding popularity status, no. of facebook 'friends' achieved, or pricey label acquisitions.
There is some hypocrisy that irks me to no end, however, observing a societal shift that occurs between middle school and high school. That nose-buried-in-the-book loving middle schooler becomes an even more voracious reader, if left unimpeded by society, in the high school years.
However, the kind and adoring eyes of "society" that graced that prized bookworm middle schooler are met with somewhat less than approving eyes on the booming high schooler. "Nerdy", "reclusive" and "socially awkward" are more apt to title that highschooler once described in different terms such as "book loving", "studious", and "contemplative".
Topics of approving conversation are often focused on sporting events, mass social opinions that fall squarely in the political "right" camp or the political "left" camp.
What we have found is that many people praise a middle-school aged kid for their uniqueness and non-conformity. At the high school level, however, these same kids are much more equated with normalcy if they look, speak, and behave like most others.
We realize no path of child rearing is the ultimate path. Are there any parents out there who can ascertain their decisions as parents were unfettered with mistakes and regrets? Many decisions we've made have had positive as well as negative outcomes. Learning styles vary from one child to the next and from one level of maturity to the next... even if those children have the same parents.
In conclusion, much is rattling around in this hard noggin of mine. These observations that are noted and decisions that must be chosen leave me exhausted at times and exhilarated at others.
I retreat to the farmer's market for eye-candy, relief from the heaviness of parenting, and move to sensory smells that delight the inner foodie in me. This visit, it was squash blossoms that displayed their lovely petals in front of me.
Decisions at the market are uncomplicated, gratefully satisfying, and result in savory delights on the plate for nothing more than pleasure. Once home, creamy herb filled goat cheese is delicately nudged into these apricot colored flowers. Whisked eggs carefully envelop the cheesy goodness. A quick pan fry to melt everything together results in a simple pretty little side accompaniment to some rosemary scented lamb chops.
The rattling ceases for a moment, an herbal scented meal is savored and appreciated...for its pure simplicity.
...and all seems quiet and clear when a good meal has dampened the worries of our world and all of the hopes sitting on the shoulders of the next generation of youth.
Pan Fried Squash Blossoms filled with Creamy Herbed Goat Cheese
squash blossom flowers
herb goat cheese (chilled is easier to stuff into the flowers)
chopped herbs of any variety
2-3 eggs, whisked in a bowl
olive oil or butter
Carefully wash and pat dry the squash blossom flowers. Take scoops of herbed goat cheese and gently push it into the inside of the flower petals. Heat a sauté pan on medium heat with some olive oil or butter. Once all of the flowers have been stuffed, roll them in the whisked egg mixture. Gently fry the flowers in the pan until the egg batter is cooked. Sprinkle squash blossoms with salt and pepper and enjoy them while soft and hot.