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A Parent’s Rite of Passage
March 5, 2021 – The sixth official Friday Night BeerBlog
Hot Damn! Ya know, there just aren’t enough times in life to celebrate, so when you have the chance, f-ing do it! Rites of Passage in life come at such a rapid rate when we’re young: Talking, Walking, Using the toilet, 1st day of school, other school stuff, sports stuff, Graduations, Jobs, all the “firsts”. But as we get older, those milestones are fewer and farther between.
Today was a good day and Mike and I experienced one of the rites of passage of every parent. We made the very last tuition payment to any college attended by our children forever. Can I say Hot Damn again?! It has been a long six years. You always think you’re financially prepared, but you’re not. And you think you know exactly what it’s going to cost, but you don’t. College tuition, housing, books and supplies, and living expenses (including travel if they attend school far from home) are out of control.
I remember thinking when I went to U of L in the 80s that it cost too much. It was a luxury even then and I appreciated my parents helping me through. After graduation, somehow U of L owed me ten dollars. It was absolutely unheard of that the school owed me money instead of the other way around.
Most people would have just written off that tener and let the school keep it, but there was no way in hell I was going to give them any more of my money, so I stood in line at the bursar’s office for well over an hour and had them cut me a check. I think even they couldn’t believe that I was going to such lengths, but it was the mere principal of the thing.
Were they going to take all small amounts of cash left behind by people like me and reduce the cost of tuition to someone less fortunate. No. They were going to pocket it, so I was going to be taking it back – thank you very much. I was living in a friend’s attic at the time and had to ride my bike to get to work and to school, so any money was gold anyway.
Being able to help our children pay for college has been something we promised Ian and Cate from the beginning. The deal was that they work hard academically to get scholarships and grants and we would financially help keep their student loans down. It is the same deal that a lot of parents make with their kids and are able to complete, if they are financially prepared enough.
But not only did I want to help my kids pay for college, I wanted them to be able to look at all options and go where they felt best. Personally, I wanted more than anything to go to film school at UCLA or NYU and at the time didn’t seem a realistic option for me. In fact, when I look back on my life, I honestly think that THE biggest regret in my life was not finding a way, any way, to go.
So I wanted to make sure that my kids knew that money should never be a barrier to something you really want. And they both chose to attend college out of state as the best options for them, which also makes me very happy, as long as they do something with it.
But back to the actual cost of college – the thought that with the money that we’ve paid out the last six years could have paid off our house and more or purchased Mike’s dream car several times over or bought so, so many bikes is besides the point. We have done right by our kids and worked hard to make sure they are prepared for their next big rite of passage – becoming real, live adults.
So cheers to us. We wonder what we might do with all the extra money we’re going to have now. Sorry if I made you spit-take. We all know how that goes. I remember when the kids didn’t need daycare anymore and we wondered what we would do with all that money. For the life of me I don’t remember there ever being any extra money because life takes over and something else that you’ve been ignoring needs to be addressed almost immediately.
All I do know is that our friends are going to be so happy to not hear about college tuition anymore. Me too.
So tonight, we’re drinking – we’re clinking glasses at a restaurant that isn’t Qdoba – and if you know us, you know that is a big deal.
Check it off the list – Tuition payments complete!
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