I love my kids, and I love being their mom. I always thought I'd have more of a relationship with Jess where she'd talk to me about "stuff" but she's completely closed off from me more often than not. Getting her to talk to me makes her defensive, and I'm not sure why. Then I thought about it and realized I was often the same way with my mom. So I look at this relationship with slight longing, but knowledge that yeah ... if she needs me she'll let me know and I have to just let that be, rather than make her feel uncomfortable.
Geoff wanted to look at a local community college last week, even though we don't have money for him to go to school. He knows this, but signed up for the tour anyway, and I didn't want to squash his dreams. We talked realistically about money, and I told him I was proud of him for looking at community colleges instead of ... Harvard. While we toured, with about 20 other parents and kids, I let him walk on his own, and I positioned myself in different places. He and I made eye contact and nodded, or raised an eyebrow when the guide told us things of interest. Afterwards I told him that I gave him that space on purpose, so that I didn't make him uncomfortable. He liked that and indirectly quoted Bart Simpson and told me that he appreciated that I didn't "Mom all over it." He noticed many of the parents were incredibly bossy or "guidey" with their kids, and he liked being on his own.
In fact, it was great to see him smiling as he walked around the campus. He told me "I can see myself going here." And that made me happy. I texted Doug while we were touring and told him that Geoff's smile alone made me want to see this happen for him.
When we dropped Jess off at college, she was confrontational, rude, and disrespectful to us. And it really pissed me off. What I didn't realize was that she didn't really want to be there. Academically, I knew she had the chops to do it, but ... she didn't want it. When we toured Buffalo, Pitt and Syracuse, I should have listened to her social cues. But I didn't. And she went for, as Ben Folds sings "three sad semesters," and dropped out and came home.
So it is different seeing Geoff wanting this, and being excited about it. I wanted Jess, and still do want her, to get a degree. She's the "smart one," I was willing to sink all the money into her that I could but she didn't want to do it. Geoff, however, is the motivated one, and I think steering him towards something he can do vocationally, something he can do while working (and finding him a job to do while he's going to school) is a worthy goal.
One of the reasons I changed jobs was to bring in more income. I was perfectly happy in the other job with the short commute, and was getting super comfortable with the work and the people and the projects (more on these thoughts later). Being able to write a check to the local community college for Geoff over the next couple of years will be a big undertaking since we won't get any loans, we don't qualify for financial aid, and he's probably not going to receive any grants or scholarships (we're starting to apply for those). I knew that in order to get him going we'd need more money. And ... here we are.
Hopefully I'll be able to say to Jess "Do you want to take a class? We have the money now. Pick something, I'm more than happy to pay for it." And we'll see what happens. But... I'll do it without momming all over it.