Are you at Peace with your child's college decision?

(Editor’s note: This Trinity mom reflects on her new grad’s college years.)

by Jennifer Mackender—

It seems like yesterday, my daughter, Ally, and her dad were sitting on the floor in our Colorado home looking up at the office walls admiring the bubble letter, colored marker, college hunt spreadsheets she had made. Each piece of typing paper, taped side by side in a perfect horizontal line, listed the name of the college and had bullet points showing the well-researched strengths and weaknesses of each school.

I remember on the weekends, as these lists would be created, edited, and sometimes torn from the wall and tossed in the trash, I would listen from another room as Ally and her dad would chat, laugh, and argue while discussing her college search. I was not necessarily drawn into their conversations, sometimes feeling left out and jealous of their commitment to the process. It wasn’t that they weren’t willing to include me – believe me they were! However, instead of joining the conversation, I tried to quietly walk past or find an errand to run so that I could remove myself from the activity.

I was at peace and I didn’t know why.

Why, at a time when I should have been hovering, talking more than listening, and giving my advice, had I become absent? After all, I am a stay-at-home mom. And like all stay-at-home moms, I was committed, I was sometimes annoying, and I was certainly the stereotypical helicopter parent. So why wasn’t I doing my job?

I had always been there to help Ally make those important life decisions. Which Build-a-Bear should I buy? Should I spend all my money on a Justin Bieber concert T-shirt? Am I a vegetarian or should I eat the burger? So why wasn’t I there now? How had I become quiet, peaceful, and confident at a time like this? Why was I confident in her ability to make this HUGE decision without me bothering her every step of the way?

As my daughter graduates from Trinity University, I now realize that the years of hovering, teaching, guiding, inspiring, modeling, and loving paid off. It led Ally to make the huge decision to attend Trinity, a school that has the same values that we instilled in her and our son, Ethan. It just felt right; she had found a university that mirrored everything we had been working so hard to impart on our children.

Trinity, like our home, provides love and support, but encourages her to take risks and face challenges.

Trinity, like our home, provides friends and professors that become family and provides her with connections to never feel alone.

Trinity, like our home, provides her with enrichment and the opportunity to nourish her talents.

Trinity University mom Jennifer Mackender and Allyson
Trinity mom Jennifer Mackender with daughter Allyson '17
Trinity, like our home, emphasizes the importance of embracing and accepting diversity and helping others.

So, prospective parents, as you watch your son or daughter make their huge college decision, be quiet as they process, be thoughtful as they share, and be confident as they waver. Most importantly, though, know that if they choose Trinity University, the students, faculty, and community will be there to pick up from where you left off. You’ve done well, mom and dad.

About Jennifer

Jennifer Mackender resides in Denver, Colorado. Her daughter, Allyson, graduated Saturday, May 13 with a bachelor’s degree in English. Her son, Ethan, is finishing his first year as a business student at Carthage College in Wisconsin. She is most proud of raising her two college-aged kids to be happy, healthy, and independent. She is a public health educator and enjoys spending time with her family, watching ’Husker football and breathing in the fresh air of the Rocky Mountains.


Post a Comment