There is a ritual that has evolved in America among families with teenagers.  At this time of year, hovering around the arrival of Spring, thousands of families pour onto the highways and backroads of America in search of “the right college” for their kid.  This is “The College Tour”.  The hope is that the young student begins to get a glimpse of the exciting life that awaits him, a life full of independence, cultural growth and intellectual stimulation.  And the parents get to watch their kid grow up before their eyes.  That’s the hope.  Just as often, the kids get bored or scared or fed up.  Parents and teenagers together on a road trip — you can imagine the possibilites.

We’ve been on our tour for four days, and so far so great.  We actually ARE having fun, and our son is figuring out not only where he can imagine himself being, but also who he can imagine himself being.  But this is MY blog.  What about ME?  Well, the word “nostalgia” doesn’t come close.  Sure, standing on the grounds of my own aluma mater, I couldn’t help but think about the hours I spent in those old classrooms, the roomates I shared dorm rooms with — officially and unofficially.  But even more, it reminded me of who I was all those years ago;  what I believed I could do with my life;  what I never even imagined.  I think “they” tried to convince me back then that I could do anything, but I know I never really believed them.  I couldn’t begin to imagine the global sort of life I seem to be living now.  I couldn’t even imagine the sort of technologically-led world that exists today.  But I guess what I did learn is that those college years equipped me to adapt, to persevere and to dream.  And when I now realize that my youngest will soon be heading off to learn his own lessons away from my supervising eyes, I can remember what I felt like as an 18-year-old, how filled I was with all the conflicting emotions of fear and excitement and pride and embarrassment and determination. And I’m reminded that for all the years, miles, successes and failures that have made up my own life since I was a teeneager, I actually haven’t changed all that much.