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The Scoop - Fast journey from playpen to college

It doesn't seem like too many moons ago that I was lugging around a baby carrier and requesting high chairs and crackers at restaurants. As soon as we got up to leave, the wait staff would rush over, broom in hand, to begin cleaning up the aftermath.

Those times with babies are memories to cherish. I always found it encouraging how so many folks would stop by our table to get a glimpse of the baby and occasionally offer a little parenting advice.

The one thing almost everyone would say as they were walking away went something like this: "Enjoy it now because it'll be over before you know it."

I always chuckled at this statement, thinking to myself, "There's no way 18 years is going by fast. What in the world are they talking about?"

Upon further review, I have to admit everyone who told me it would fly by fast was absolutely right. Looking back now, the time couldn't have zipped by any faster if we were on The Himalaya.

The reason for all this retrospect is a letter we received in the mail on Wednesday. It was a letter from MTSU.

The letter didn't immediately catch my attention because, as a parent of a high school senior, I've been getting mail from seemingly every college in the continental United States. But on closer inspection, the back of the letter had the words, "Good news inside."

So Cupcake and I waited patiently until Benjamin got home and immediately wanted him to open the letter. There was delight on his face and cheers around the kitchen counter as we learned he had been accepted into MTSU. 

College was no longer something distant and abstract. It now seems rather immediate and defined. He's going to MTSU!

To cope with the emotional anguish of having my oldest child on the verge of leaving home, I'm trying to put myself in his shoes and remember how hopeful and excited I was to be postmarked with a destination of college.

It was a different era, to be sure, as my freshman year we still had payphones at the end of our dorm halls. That payphone was the only way to reach me. I used it mainly to order pizza and answered it on occasion, but it would always be a mom on the other end. "Hello, can you get Billy for me in Room 316."

I'd then walk down to Room 316 to find out if Billy wanted to talk to his mom, or have me tell her no one would answer the door.

I can smile in hoping little Benjamin, now a full 6-foot-4, may enjoy some of the same college adventures I still remember fondly today. And perhaps he might learn something while he's there too.

From high chair to the doorstep of college, I can say one thing people constantly told me about raising kids is right on the money. It does go by fast.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.