*smirk* I like the title chosen for today’s blog.  Sometimes, it’s fun to write the title first and hope the content follows along.

The kid really is alright, which means I too am alright, as is his mother.  His mother still is a bit unsure of herself when it comes to raising a male, her experience being raised in a family of eight women with her father the lone male, something that has left her lacking in the male perspective department.  She never really accepted my input as a male, even as she demanded it from me, thus our divorce.  So when she had to let go and let her boy move on to his next stage of independence — college — it was interesting and a bit fun to watch as she tried to control the situation as we moved him in to his dorm suite.  Nate has a way of flat out rejecting that control and it’s something I have not directly witnessed the last two years, due to him living with his mother.  I saw it first hand as we moved him in a week ago.  He’s not mean.  He is actually pretty kind to her, but he has a way of showing that he just wants to do it on his own.

I love seeing that.  The boy has grown a lot in the past two years.  When he needs help, he asks for it, but he tries to do it first before asking.  Nate is learning to take responsibility, something that he sorely needed two years ago when his mother and I split.  I was worried.  But the reason he is at the University of Illinois, studying there on their new free tuition program, is because he took the initiative.  He saved his money to be ready, bought his own Macbook, arranged for his employer to transfer him to their store in Champaign.  I honestly didn’t have to do anything for him besides answer a few questions.. and provide the bicycle that is necessary for him to get around campus.

IMG_20190824_163644244When he asked me about a bicycle and came over to pick it out of the two I offered up to him, he chose this one.  It was my first mountain bike, still in decent shape even after I beat it up on the trails for two years.  I cleaned it up, made sure it was in good condition, added some white wall tires.  Nate bought a combination style cable lock, which I added to the bike after he bought the lock.  Providing the college bike has been my thing, since I did the same for my daughter.

Nate’s U of I education is being provided tuition free, this semester the first it is being offered.  Since his mother filled out the FAFSA, he qualified for the free tuition program because her income and assets meet the criteria to qualify.  I’m not a Bernie Sanders supporter, but it’s nice to have something from my government that I can see as a clear benefit.  Taxes have destroyed my finances the past few years, so I don’t have a problem getting something back on my contribution to my state.

Nate called me during my lunch break this past Friday.  He wanted to know if that bike would be OK to ride off road, as he has some friends who ride mountain bikes.  I told him it probably wouldn’t be a good idea as that bike needs to be his main form of transportation on campus.  It was nice to talk to him, nice to hear he is doing well.  He has friends on campus, something that was part of his criteria for choosing the U of I, and he said he doesn’t plan on coming home any time soon.  I smiled as he asked me when I was coming to visit, wants to know when I (and my brother, Paul, and his family) can come watch a football game with him.

The Sunday morning that Nate and I moved him, I followed him in my car as he drove the car his sister is loaning him.  She doesn’t need her car, as it was stored at my place while she works in Turkey during the school year, so she kindly is allowing him to use it.  We arrived early, shopped for groceries at Walmart, then I followed him to his dorm suite.  At Walmart, he tried to talk me into buying beer for him.  I declined, told him that it’s not going to be difficult getting beer in a college town.  I don’t want to be the one to buy it for him.

His mother might be moving to a smaller, one bedroom apartment soon.  When he does come home, he might be living with me, another big step…..