August 2016 Column Winner

From the sidelines
Jeff Schnoebelen, The Mooreland Leader

We want them to leave, don't we?

We spent a couple days in Oklahoma City last weekend having a little family fun, shopping for school clothes and eating at some good restaurants.
We also put a little money into the economy purchasing dorm room stuff and college supplies for Jacob. It is exciting to see our number one son ready to move into the great big world.
While perusing the aisles for sheets, comforters, fans, dry erase boards, shorts, shirts, etc., I thought how did 18 years go by so fast?
This young man that I first held in my arms on February 6, 1998, that depended on Jennifer and I for everything was making decisions and over ruling us on some choices.
How did he get from not being able to walk, talk or control him self to a confident, young man ready to move on to the University of Oklahoma in such a short time?
A computer was selected with him leading the way in the decision making. He knew what he wanted and needed for the most part and made the choice on a very important part of his college experience.
Seeing him making these choices and preparing to leave the safety of home is exciting. I think the scary part will come later. To be exact, Thursday, Aug. 18, and I don’t mean Jacob. I’m sure there’ll be some apprehension on his part but he is ready in every way to get out on his own.
August 18 is the day we will drive to Norman to help our first born begin the next phase of his life. We’ve been here before, first time in day care, first day in preschool, first overnight scout camp out without dad, first day of school, first multi-day basketball camp, but this is different. In all the above cases we knew he would be back home in a few hours or a few days.
When he was in the early part of grade school he told us he was going to build a second story on our house and his career goals were to dig for dinosaur bones in our back yard and never leave home.
I think those plans have officially been nixed.
I recall one time when he spent the night with Dakota Copenhaver over near Waynoka. Neta, Dakota’s mom, called us around 2:00 a.m. and said Jacob wanted to come home. Not sure why he needed to get home right then, but he did.
I met Neta halfway and picked him up and brought him home to his safety net. Now he is ready to move to Norman and attend a university with 29,000 students.
We will leave early on August 18 with two vehicles loaded down with all the necessary stuff. Jennifer and I will come home that night with an empty SUV and I imagine tear filled eyes and aching hearts.
Since the day he was born we have been preparing him for this time in his life. Telling, showing and leading by example, Jennifer and I have tried to instill good values in Jacob and his siblings.
We hope they have stuck. He will be faced with choices and possibly be challenged on his beliefs and values while there.
We know he is not the first kid ever to leave home, but he is our first. We knew this day was coming, we have prepared for it in several ways but how did it get here so fast?
We are proud of the young man he has become and what he has accomplished so far in his life.
We also look forward to what he will do as he continues his journey through life. We just don’t want it to happen too fast.
He will be home, probably often at first to watch his brother play football for the Bearcats, to see us, to eat Mom’s cooking and get clothes washed and folded for free.
Over time I imagine the trips home will be further apart but that’s the way it’s supposed to be I guess.
After all, we want them to leave...don’t we?

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