Friday, March 11, 2016

Calls from Adult Children

As I sat in my chair after lunch, the phone rang.  I expected it to be a telemarketer or maybe a friend who occasionally calls mid-afternoons.

Much to my surprise, the caller ID read "Jacob".

Whenever he calls unexpectedly, I get a little excited and a little anxious at the same time.  I always wonder if he has some exciting news to share or if something tragic has happened.  Funny how our minds work. Once a mom, always a mom - I guess.

The call today was a little different.  He was calling for advice.  Not that he's never done that before, but every time it happens it makes my heart swell.

He had talked to Techno and I over the weekend about possibly changing one of his majors.  He's currently a Chemistry and Chemical Engineering dual major.  But.... as the semesters have rolled along, he's grown less intrigued with the engineering side of things and more enamored with mathematics and statistics.  His love of Chemistry has remained constant.  He's recognized he enjoys the research, the discovery (Chemistry) aspect of it and not as much the tool usage (engineering) aspect of his chosen fields.  He's also ascertained he's got quite a knack and love of numbers (not that we didn't already know that, but thought engineering would apply that love with chemistry to make a perfect marriage).

Not so much.

So, today, he called because he had met with a professor in statistics and mathematics as well as chemistry and a general engineering professor.  Through all the counseling, he had come to the conclusion that maybe chemical engineering wasn't quite 'up his alley'.

However, he knew I was very proud of him for going into Chemical Engineering and he didn't want to disappoint me.

Hence, the call.

As soon as he started talking, I knew he just needed my reassurance that I was still proud of him. That I still supported him 110 percent.  Which... I did.  I do.  I always will.

I affirmed what I'm sure he already knew.  He had thought long and hard about this.  He had researched and sought council.  He had given engineering a shot and it just wasn't measuring up to what he wanted to do in life.  He knew his heart, his desires.  He had calculated how chemistry and engineering differed and what it was about chemistry - the love of discovery - that he so enjoyed.  He. Had. Done. His. Homework.

I gave him my blessing.

I could sense the relief as I told him I thought he was doing the right thing.

Now, he'll begin the process of dropping one of his engineering classes; formally changing his second major from chemical engineering to statistics and adding a third in the math sciences; as well as formulating a new plan for the rest of his college career.

This change may result in a 5th year at UW, but he's already prepared for that.  He would be able to not only accomplish a second and third major in statistics and math, but he'll have the opportunity to fulfill some master's degree level courses in Chemistry as he does so.  He could also - at any time - decide he just wants to get a minor in the math and stats areas and finish on time.  He can do however much or little as he wants.  He could even ditch the whole idea of a second and third major and graduate..... next Spring.

AAAKCKK!!  A part of me - ok a HUGE part of me - really hopes he does NOT lean toward that option.  It's already hard enough to know I only get 5 weeks a year (on the high end) of him being under our roof.  He's applying for summer research internships that will be taking him out of state most summers from here on out.  Sigh.  So... graduating early?  Not on my top 10 list of things I want.

However, I fully recognize, it's not about ME.  It's not about what I want. It's about Jacob -- what he wants, what's best for him.  He'll have to decide what that looks like as he moves along in this journey of life and college.  I trust his judgement -- he's done well so far.

So, we'll wait and see what he decides.

If he chooses to get those extra degrees?  A bonus for Techno and I!!!  We'll have him nearby for a year longer than expected AND he'll be on campus as his younger sister and brother begin their college endeavors.

All around -- WIN -- in my book.

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