Time Ticks Onward

School started last week, and everyone got a year older and a little bit more independent and it was all good. They’re all still in the same school, and all three of them have fantastic teachers that they’ve had before. The Little Miss got cut off from her best buddies but she makes new friends easily, and the older two are happily with good friends. At home, I’m breathing deeply in the glory of the silence, and attacking my miles-long, I’ll-do-it-when-the-kids-start-school to-do list. All is well.

The big marker of time passing, though, the stumbling block for me, is that my nephew started university this fall. He’s not my first nephew to reach university age, but the difference is that he’s going to the same university that I went to, the place where Sir Monkeypants and I met. It’s a little too close to home.

I find I’m being kept up nights thinking about all the stupid stuff we did in university, right from day one. The drinking, the parties, the way people in first year residence – 18 year olds! – were sleeping around. The way you’d stay up all hours of the night, then drag yourself to class in the morning, only to fall asleep at your desk. The way the stove in the common room got set on fire on a regular basis. The sudden way you’re thrown into situations you have absolutely no frame of reference for – deciding, for example, who is going to clean up your friend who is lying on someone’s living room floor in a puddle of vomit; surviving for weeks on nothing but french fries and pop from the mini fridge in your room; figuring out just how little work you can do to sneak by on an assignment.

I was a super goody-goody in high school, a kid with a “head on her shoulders,” and I was actually a lot like that in university, too – I didn’t drink, and I did a lot of babysitting of other drunk people. But even I was not immune to the total bacchanalia that is first year university, at least for engineers, which are maybe the worst of the lot.

I think of my nephew, who I held as a baby, who I played stuffed monkeys with as a toddler, who I chatted with about Harry Potter and Percy Jackson like, yesterday, and now he’s out in that wild world. His parents dropped him off, and they will literally not see him for six weeks, until he comes home for Thanksgiving. Maybe they’ll get a weekly phone call. In between, who knows where he is, or what he’s doing. It’s terrifying.

I know he’s a pretty solid kid, actually, and one thing that worries me so much is that I don’t actually live with him, so I don’t always see the little ways that he’s already all-grown-up and able to take care of himself. But when I think of my own babies off at university – panic time. There’s only, what, five more years I have left to teach the Captain kung fu, how to know your limit, proper use of birth control, and all the intricacies of boy-girl relationships? NOT ENOUGH TIME.

Better buckle down.

5 thoughts on “Time Ticks Onward

  1. Absolutely on the time-running-out thing. I don’t hand over chores like making their own lunches, or making their beds, to my kids because I want to stop doing them myself – instead it’s because I keep thinking “wow, they don’t have much time to learn all this stuff – we need to get started!”

  2. Way to go adding to my stress this week… 🙂
    I am kidding.

    My oldest is at a different school second year in a row and not bringing home books to study from and there’s a locker with a lock on it and he’s only 10 years old and I feel like i can’t support or help him when I see he needs it most. When he brings home a test for me to sign and the mark isn’t what is should be, there is no way for me to make him go back to school that he can access his books bec it’s too far and by the time he gets home it’s too late and there’s all this stuff I don’t see or know about…

    Stressful. And that’s just elementary school.


  3. Zhu

    It’s funny, I walk through the University of Ottawa campus last week on my way to a medical appointment (I use the university health services) and I noted how young, naive and… fresh the students seemed to be.

    It’s funny, I think French students are more mature intellectually, but on the other hand they lack the practical experience North American kids get (a driving license, for instance, you have to be at least 18 in France to drive, or work experience, almost no teen work in France because unemployment rate is so high).

  4. Geez, WHICH university was that? I had a good time in university, but it sounds like yours blew mine away. And yes – it’s terrifying. Ditto what Tudor said, except I’m NOT that great at handing chores over, and every once in a while I panic and try to teach them how to do stuff but then generally go back to doing it for them. At least Angus is taking cooking this semester – he has to learn or fail!

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