So as I alluded to in my previous post, my son Carlton is headed to Old Dominion University in the Fall. I wanted him to attend Hampton University, but it always seemed like I wanted it way more than he did, which is fine. He wanted to attend George Mason University so he could be closer to his girlfriend (she lives in Woodbridge, he lives in Hampton) but his refusal to let me help him with his college essay, led to him receiving a rejection letter. He had three more schools he applied to, but ODU was his first choice and that is where he's headed. Now the wonderful financial aid, scholarship money game begins just as the child support part wraps up in August. It never ends, but this is the deal you make when you have kids right? You support them until they are 22 (give or take a few years) and then when you get old, they either take care of you or throw in a nursing home and willingly pay money for to go away. Win-win right?
But on a serious note, I could not be happier for my son given what he has gone through--both because of his parents and because of his own stubbornness. His mother and I were never married, and I've never had full custody of Carlton, so our relationship has primarily gone down via email, the phone, and visits that vary from a weekend to two weeks. We made it work with varying degrees of success. When his mother got re-married and moved to Japan, I was relegated to letters, the phone and the occasional phone call and that was tough. As he's gotten older and moved back to Hampton (and his mother getting divorced help) we have been able to talk and see each other much more, and as a result our relationship has improved tenfold. I doubt we'll be as close as me and young Nyles will be, but Nyles lives with me so that's to be expected.
Carlton also had some years between grades six and nine when he basically waved the white flag where academics were concerned. I tried to get him to see the short and long term consequences of his actions, but he was hell-bent on being cool and defiant. I do think the lack of a father in the home, as well his mother's numerous moves played a huge part in his lack of academic success, but ultimately, his work ethic sucked. Something clicked the second semester of his ninth grade year and he's been consistently rolling ever since, which lead to last week's good news. Now the challenge will be to keep him school. I know too many people who got in college, and then flunked out after one or two years. We can't have that and we won't.
For more of my views on fatherhood listen to this podcast right here. It features me, my main man Joe, and my main Jamal.