Living with a Freshman College Student

Prior to our daughter leaving for college, Jody and I hosted a self-defense class in our front yard with Crystel and other young women who would also be leaving for school in a few short weeks.

Addressing the girls, the instructor said something like, You will drink. Then he looked at the parents and said, Your daughters will drink. They will go to parties.

That’s not going to happen, I thought. Not our girl.

Directing himself back to the young ladies, he said, How will you keep yourself safe? 

Fast forward. Sixteen weeks into her freshman year, I was shocked when I learned she had discovered drinking, gummy worms, and the sweet smell of liquid THC.

I had to ask myself, What did I think she was doing in college? After much thought and self-reflection, my answer was, Making choices.

I recalled my college years. I had attended parties. I had made choices.

It was her decision, would always be her decision, whether to attend parties and imbibe.

I was not ready for my college student to come home different than how I had sent her. She was always independent but now even more so. She had her own agenda which did not include her parents.

I realized that it was me who needed to adjust. She was growing up. She was adulting.

What finally gave me comfort is coming back to my center. Looking at my choices. My growth. Knowing that my daughter now had the very same opportunities that I did.

I’m writing this blog while she’s practicing Clair de Lune on the piano. I watch her hands move across the keyboard. Clair de Lune, soothing and calming, turbulent and emotional. Sad and triumphant. A perfect backdrop for my emotions.

Coming back to writing, I know without a doubt, What’s important, absolutely the most important, is for me to be there when she calls, and, in between, to enjoy the sweet music that she makes.

Crystel has approved this blog.

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About Elizabeth di Grazia

An artist, I follow the nudge inside of me. This nudge led me to write Peace Corps stories, find the front door to the Loft, and to graduate from Hamline’s MFA program. The story that became my thesis for Hamline is woven into my book manuscript: HOUSE OF FIRE: From the Ashes, A Family, a memoir of healing and redemption. It’s a story about family. And a story about love–for my partner Jody and the son and daughter we adopted from Guatemala. Most days, I can be found working as a Human Resource Manager for a foundry in Minneapolis. When I am not at the foundry I may be volunteering as a Police Reserve Officer for Richfield, MN or kicking butt at Kor Am Tae Kwon Do.