A few weeks before school was out, Christian was accepted to a student program called Upward Bound that helps high school students prepare for post secondary education. He went through an application and interview process (as well as we did) that gave him a spot as as one of 50 students who get provided with a 6 week summer academic program held at CSUN, year round tutoring services that are held right on his high school campus, and future help with the college application process and all that entails. So this is actually a 3 year commitment for both the program and Christian as well.
The summer program starts of with a 2 week residential program where the students actually stay on campus in the dorms while taking their classes, and specialized college oriented workshops, and are taken on field trips to various College campuses in California. Their classes include taking 5 academic courses, 3 of which are classes that they will be taking in the upcoming school year (English, Biology and Algebra2 in Chris's case) in order to prepare them ahead of time. The 2 other classes are in the science and language areas, so Chris will be taking Robotics and Public Speaking this year. The next 3 weeks, they commute back and forth from home like a regular school week, and then go back to CSUN for a final week of staying on campus for finals.
What a great opportunity for Chris! And what an opportunity for us!
What?? How's that? Well, during our interview process, one thing we were told straight out was, that one of the hidden goals of this program was to prepare not just the kids to go off to college, but to prepare the PARENTS!!!
Uggh! Wait... Yes, sir! I guess I'm in! Because guess what...we're going to need it. Jerry and I haven't been as heart strong as many of you parents who have already experienced your babies leaving home for a few days at a time. More power to you all, I tell you, because I couldn't have imagined letting Chris go anywhere on his own until now.
So knowing we would miss him dearly, but also knowing how great this would be...we were ready for Christian to take on this experience and get a small taste of what "college dorm life" might be like for then next 3 summers.
Sunday was the day we dropped him off for his first week at CSUN. I will be honest, I had my emotional breakdown Sunday morning in his arms as he assured me he was going to be ok, but I kept it together while we dropped him off, and then broke down again later on that evening when he called us after getting settled into his room. I couldn't help it, I missed him already! :'(
Each dorm holds 4 boys, 2 in each room. Boys on one level, girls on the other with strict rules of entering each others area...you just cant! Phew!!!! Lol! It was fun getting his room ready, and he had some cool gear already waiting for him on his desk to make him official. We got to meet his room mates and their families, all of which made leaving him there all that much easier.
We had a parent orientation meeting where they explained what they're day was going to be like as you can see their day is packed with work and some fun at the end of the day. The other life skill they're being taught throughout the 6 weeks is budgeting. One of those cards on his lanyard is a meal card with just enough money to pay for all the meals they get. Their receipts are monitored, and IF he doesn't budget correctly he runs the risk of running out of money and having to pay for it himself or having to ask us for more money! Not that we wouldn't give it him, but the plan is for that not to happen. I love it!! Money budgeting 101 at 15 years old will hopefully help him make wise budgeting decisions when he's in college handling his own money.
After the meeting, we got a chance to say our last good byes and take this picture. See, I was totally happy and I was truly excited for him. I wanted him to see that his mom was strong and not making it any harder for him either.
Update on Chris so far: He's doing great, having a good time, adjusting to being away from home as would be expected of a kid like Chris, but not suffering by any means. He's enjoying his classes, he likes his roommates, and says he's already meeting some good friends.
Update on us (lol): Jerry is a total softy when it comes to his boys. He adores them! He's tries to maintain being a bit more stoic, but admits that if its hard for him now, he can't imagine what it will be like later when we send Chris off to college. Danny and Mikey miss him too, and are showing it by actually taking over his bedroom...hahaha! As for myself, I've actually been quite proud of me. I totally miss him, but I've been holding up really well considering that a few years back I believe I would have been an absolute mess. But like I told somebody yesterday, its kind of hard to be sad when you know your son is doing something good and is totally ok, and I trust that will continue to be the case.
We'll have Chris home for a few hours this Father's day weekend before he goes back on Sunday night, and I can guarantee we'll be enjoying every minute, and I'm sure he'll feel the same way. I think for him as much as for us, this experience is also one of learning to appreciate your family and what you have with them and not taking that for granted.
I am grateful that Christian got this opportunity, and for all the good that will come of it for him and his future.
Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy being with your babies this summer!!
Have a great day, from my corner to yours...