Excuse me, are you Listening? 7-14
Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dear Readers,

I hope that your summer is  going well.  I’ve finally calmed down after my son Gianni’s graduation.  I don’t remember a time when I was more joyful.

I was one of the loudest parents at the event.  I was so happy that he was graduating from Eastern High School at 16 years of age.   In March of 2008, I decided that I would figure out a way for Gianni to graduate early.  He had enough credits and it seemed he was bored. I figured that now was the time before I lost him in a sea of confusion.

Now I’ve been dealing with empty nest syndrome even though he technically hasn’t left the home yet.

He went to a summer camp program sponsored by the Civitans and he came back a different and mature young man.  It was a week long diversity conference and there were teenagers there from all over the country and Canada.

He said it was the best time that he had in his entire life.  I thought, “My child is growing up and seeing the world and no longer will a trip to the movies including a Dr. Pepper and popcorn make me the coolest person that he knew.”

A few weeks later as I walked around the campus of Lansing Community College to enroll him, I began to get teary eyed again.

I remembered what it was like preparing to go to college.  I had the benefit of Upward Bound, which is a program that helps first time college bound students with the issues surrounding the process.

My parents didn’t pay for me to go to college and I struggled financially because they made too much money for me to get financial aid. 

I don’t know where I got the stamina from to prepare all of my paperwork and visit school by myself at 17.

I watched Gianni cringe every time I knelt beside him to offer a helping hand in signing up for his first semester at college. 

He finally rolled his eyes and pointed to a chair in the corner and smiled and said, “You sit over there.”

I sheepishly took the chair in the corner and came to the realization that I was being phased out as the primary caregiver.  My son’s positive  experiences of graduating and attending a leadership conference gave him confidence strike out on his own.


Rina Risper


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