Son’s final spring break is one to remember

Schlueterville has been granted a blessing this week. Our son, Magnet, is enjoying the final spring break of his college career. As an athletic training major, he’s assisted various Husker teams, which meant breaks were spent icing knees and taping ankles. This year, however, we have him for an entire, uninterrupted week.

Well, uninterrupted in the sense that he’s sleeping in his old room each night.

The truth is he’s been home just enough to make me realize how much I’ve missed having him around these past few years — the chatter of friends playing pool in the basement, and the sound of the refrigerator door sucking open like a yawn. I don’t even mind the giant pile of laundry spilling out of my washing machine.

A few of his former high school classmates have been hanging around, too, which gives me a rare glimpse into the future — theirs as well as mine. I remember one as a teenager who loved disc golfing and video games almost as much as driving his car. Now he’s on leave after a year-long tour of duty in Kuwait — a rock-hard soldier who protects me from the bogeyman.

Another made me snort-laugh over the costume he wore to a high school football game many years ago. Now he’s destined to be an elementary school teacher, and a good one at that.

There are future entrepreneurs and marketers, public servants and museum curators. Others are headed to medical school. Some are walking down the aisle. A couple are doing both.

They’re all in their early 20s now, these former teenagers who once rattled the walls with loud guitars, and ate mountains of chocolate chip cookies in my kitchen. They’re preparing to head up the world, making adult decisions and assorted boo-boos along the way.

I pray the world treats them well.

As a parent, I find myself side-stepping, making room in my timeline for those who must take the helm. That’s a change of pace from the days when you hopefully guide your kids down a healthy and productive path. Reality tilts in the action-packed years of raising a family, and suddenly your kids take the lead, just as it was meant to be.

I’ve watched Magnet in awe throughout the years, but especially during his college career. He’s established a network of friends and professional connections beyond anything I could hope to provide; doctors and athletes, coaches and leaders of every kind. He stepped into a world I find both foreign and completely fascinating — a journey that leaves a parent secure in the knowledge that her kid is equipped to handle whatever lands in his path.

Magnet will graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May. He’s destined for Omaha in the fall, where he’ll enter the doctor of physical therapy program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

He accompanied Hunka Burnin’ Hubby and me earlier this week on a four-mile run; a 6-foot, 4-inch chunk of muscle shuffling next to his huffing, middle-aged parents. It was a rare sight to behold, and a memory I’ll treasure forever. I guess everyone is running the same race — looking for places where our God-given talents can shine. The fastest runners don’t necessarily win. A lifetime of effort will take you just as far.

Magnet’s going to make a great life for himself. So will his friends. We’re all going to be just fine.

Tamera Schlueter

Tam Schlueter adopts a "strike-fast-and-keep-them-laughing" approach to writing. Her column appears every Thursday in the Hastings Tribune, and showcases the wonder of family, dogs, muscle cars, and folks with blue collars and no-nonsense attitudes.

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