Stu News and Photos

My name is Stu and I am here to share what I can.

3:51 AM

My Son

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Yesterday was the best day of my life.

My son and I, along with my son's father, have been visiting colleges this week. Nich's a junior in high school and this is his first in-person examination of the universities on his short list. We took his President's Week vacation break and flew to New York to tour four colleges, and to give him a real taste of the winter weather he'll face if he chooses to attend school in the northern Atlantic states.

One of the schools we experienced is Binghamton University, nestled in the cedars and firs and spruce trees of Broome County, NY. (Such beauty I have not seen since my youth, a splendid vision for these suburban eyes.)

Yesterday morning, Nich and I, and his father, took the nickel tour of the school, where we were led through lecture halls and dining halls and residence halls. Then, after we shook the snow from our coats, we stepped into the office of Andy Morris, the Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions, and head recruiter for out-of-state students. Morris, a congenial and earnest fellow, sat us down for a brief, un-official meeting with Nich, to give answers to his questions and give him a more direct sense of the Binghamton admissions perspective.

This was, for me, where the show began.

Nicholas is a reserved person, always has been. He is the classic example of one who keeps their light hidden under a bushel. He's shy and slightly under-confident. This is, in my completely objective opinion, extremely unwarranted, as Nich is an astonishing human being, but his mother and I have always found it difficult convincing him exactly how great he is. So when the conversation between Mr. Morris and Nich began, I assumed it would be another quick one, where the guy talked and Nich listened, hard-pressed to voice a single question.

Much to my exaltation, this was not the case. Nicholas listened to Mr. Morris's preamble, nodding his head, eyes in a slightly pensive gaze. Then he began to pepper Morris with a dozen or more questions about the school, deep, thoughtful questions concerning everything from housing to class size to admission standards to social atmosphere to degree programs and more. And it wasn't just the questions, it was the way he asked them, candidly, but without aggression or overbearance. He was solicitous as he listened to each response, and he asked insightful and relevant follow-ups. It was a truly transcendent moment for me - I struggled to contain my tears.

And afterwords, I walked around in a daze, feeling as though I had crossed the finish line of parenting. Nicholas had clearly become a man, an adult person, capable of being the leader of his own life. Sure, I get that I'll always be his parent, that he considers me a father, an advisor, a friend. But I no longer need to hold his hand as he makes his way in the world.

And as I'm alone as I write this, I will allow the tears to come.

33 Comments:

Suldog said...

It appears you did your job, and you did it well. Good Dad!

David said...

Congrats Stu and Nich! Wonderful news. So glad for you both.

-- Dave

PS. Have I mentioned how much I love your writing? Cause I DO!

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bittersweet, isn't it? knowing that you've done so well that he doesn't actually need you anymore.

congratulations to you both!

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Allen said...

Stu:
I know EXACTLY how you felt. The immense joy that brings one to tears.

Don't know if you remember that my sister and parents live in Binghamton. Next time you are there, I'm sure they'd love to see you.

---allen

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