The Garden City Telegram
2/23/2013
SOUTHWEST LIFE

With kids off to college, snow blowing job comes back to Dad

Now that my snow removal service is in college, it was up to me to fire up the snow blower and head out into the frozen tundra.

It's funny how life comes full circle.

You start out taking care of all the things that need taking care of.

Then you have children, and slowly they learn to do some of these chores until you can hand them over (not without complaint) to the kids.

Then they dare to grow up and move on.

That means all that stuff you taught them to do so well comes back around.

That's the thing about raising kids: They become adults and start their own lives.

My daughter, Claire, will have one year left of college at Wayne State after this one. Then it's on to veterinary tech school some place.

Where has the time gone? I vividly remember my wife and I dropping her off at college, the three of us a puddle of tears in the parking lot.

Now she's a young woman approaching 22 and complaining about getting old. What?

Then there is my son, Alek.

He has quickly adapted to college life and enjoys being off on his own.

He spends his weekends from college working out of town and hanging out with friends.

Thankfully, we have a washer and dryer at our home, so we get to spend a little time with him.

So that left me to prepare the snowblower and venture outside to tackle the storm.

But that's OK. That's how life is supposed to go.

As your kids grow up and get older, you do less parenting on a daily basis.

By the time Claire and Alek were high school seniors, they were itching to make more decisions for themselves and less interested in being told what to do all the time and when to do it.

Like most seniors, they were ready to spread their wings and see what is out in the world, even a world confined to a college campus.

But one thing that never stops is the concern and worry, especially when bad weather hits.

My wife and I made sure our kids understood how serious the storm was and that staying put and missing work or your friends is not a bad thing.

I remember when I was young, and even not so young, and didn't want to be tied down.

There is something about a storm that makes us automatically stir crazy. Gives us a day to stay home and catch up on things we'd like to do or just kick back and take it easy, and we'd take it in a heart beat.

But when a storm hits, we suddenly come down with a case of cabin fever.

Tell a kid they can't do something, and that's exactly what they want to do. Tell us we can't get outside, and that's where we want to be no matter how bad the weather.

So my wife and I tried to emphasize the seriousness of driving in bad weather and how we would miss them if they didn't make it home, but it was for the best.

Naturally, they came home.

So what's a parent to do? Kids make up their own minds, and sometimes all you can do is hope for the best.

That's when you don't mind bundling up to scoop snow as long as your kids are safe.

Some day they'll understand. They'll be the ones home worrying while their kids are on the road.

Life comes full circle.

Patrick Murphy, of Humphrey, Neb., is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.