22 August 2014

Raising a Son and Transitioning to College - by Jen Turano

Author Jen Turano

From a very early age, I knew that the one thing I wanted to be in this life was a mom.  While my friends were dreaming about becoming doctors, lawyers, and other high-powered career ladies, I really only dreamed about taking care of a little one, a girl if I’m being honest, and a girl who’d love to have her hair done, nails painted, and would enjoy shopping with her mom and then going out to lunch.

Funny how things don’t always go as planned, but funny how God gives you exactly what you never dreamed of, but something that turns out to be one of the best things in your life.

Dominic, my one and only child, came into the world eighteen years ago, and from that moment, I was given my very own version of a Denise the Menace.  Trouble should have been his middle name, and there wasn’t a child-proof devise that could hold him back.  Toilets turned into his own private little ponds, stuffed with star wars characters and whatever else he seemed to have on hand, which meant the plumber soon became one of my best friends.

Some called my son strong-willed, but quite frankly, I thought of him, and not always fondly, as a complete terror.  He was incredibly independent, had his own ideas about everything, and I do believe, when he got his tongue stuck to a frozen pole, that I looked up at the sky (as I was trying to figure out how to get him unstuck since we were out in the middle of nowhere) and said, “Really, God….a frozen pole?”  God, I’ve come to believe, obviously has a great sense of humor, and had to have been grinning down at me on that particular day.
Dom Turano

Dom wasn’t exactly keen to get his hair done, or have his nails painted, so I spent the years of his childhood trekking through streams, looking for frogs, building traps to catch that pesky Easter bunny, and far too often, sinking up past my knees in mud when he’d get it into his head to investigate places like swamps and beaver dams – I don’t recommend investigating beaver dams – turns out that the mud surrounding the dams is somewhat like quicksand, and the white shorts I had on the day Dom sunk in that sand will never be the same.

But, all the mischief, trouble, and scary experiences aside, I was given the opportunity to be a mom to a boy who has now grown into an extraordinary young man.  That sense of independence he embraced from such an early age has allowed him to experience the world as I was never brave enough to do.  He loves pulling all types of different people together to experience new adventures, and even though those adventures give me heart palpitation, he’s living his life on his terms and enjoying every minute of it.

I sent him off this week for his first year of college, and I have to say, this new adventure he’s undertaking has been incredibly difficult for me.  He knows not a soul at this college, which worries my mother’s heart to no end, and I cried the entire way home after telling him goodbye.  But, God gave me this wonderful, strong, hard-headed boy to raise, and in doing so, He allowed me an opportunity to grow as well and experience life as I would have never experienced it without Dom , (although…I’m not sure I needed the experience of being thrown out of the raft into raging waters because we had to try out a stretch of “super cool” rapids.)
Dominic Turano, Senior picture


I’m now traveling on a new adventure of my own, along with my husband of twenty-five years.  We don’t know where that adventure will lead us, but when Dom sent me a text this morning, telling me he’d organized a group of guys to go long-boarding last night, and then asked if I thought he should shave before a meeting he has today, I realized that everything will be okay.  I’m still Dom’s mom, he still needs me just a little, if only to give him that great shaving advice, and God will watch over my son for me.  I  have to believe He knew exactly what He was doing when He sent me Dominic – a rough and tumble little boy who will always be the love of my life, and who is now a young man I’m incredibly proud to call my son. 


Giveaway: We have a paperback copy of Jen's novel "A Talent for Trouble" (which I consider a perfect "10"!) as an extra giveaway this week (USA only.)

36 comments:

  1. You did good, Mom...better than most...I never trekked in the mud with my boy....God will keep his promise of watching out for Him. My son is now a Sophomore in High School, and I soon shall be taking that same journey you are on, and I am no where near ready! :)

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    1. Thank you, Annie - time certainly did seem to fly right by me - Good luck with your son - you still have a couple of years before the dreaded drop off - although, Dom seems to be fine - he's made friends, been long-boarding a bunch, and even went hiking down in Colorado Springs - but it's still odd not having him around.

      Good luck with the giveaway!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  2. My son is a High School senior this year. It's so hard to let them grow up.

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    1. I hope your son enjoys his senior year, Tonja - and you're exactly right, it is difficult to let them grow up - I had to bite my tongue numerous times during Dom's senior year - especially when he'd head off to the mountains to snow-board with his friends - and without me -

      Have a great weekend!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  3. I am also in the transition period with my daughter and college. Thank you for the reminder and word of encouragement. I needed it today!
    Nancycooks4u ( at ) gmail ( dot ) com

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    1. This whole college gig is tough on moms, Nancy. My roommate from college just sent her daughter off yesterday - and even though the two of us had an absolute blast during our college years, it's a little different - thinking of our little darlings off on their own....

      Have a great weekend and good luck with your transition. My husband and I keep wandering around the house, apparently looking for Dom. I hear that goes away though, but we'll see....

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  4. Isn't interesting how your life doesn't go how you planned but how God planned? I always wanted a boy and a girl, in that order. Well, I got my boy and girl but in reverse. My daughter came first and boy, did she try my patience. Before her, I was laid back, care free, non confrontational, takesalottogetmemad kind of person. But did she change all that! From the womb, she was difficult as I was sick for several months. Now, she is a 9 year old awesome girl, who still tries my patience. Then my son is the complete opposite of my daughter and I got a bit of a break. But both come with their issues and it makes me wonder why, with my laid back, non confrontational attitude, did God give me children that have needs that some days, I feel I can't handle and I don't want to make things more difficult for them. But then, I say to myself, He must think I can do this otherwise He wouldn't have trusted me! And you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. It's hard work being a parent and it sounds like you've done an awesome job!

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    1. Thank you, Summer, and I'm sure you're a wonderful mom. I kept asking the same questions, but then, once Dom got to middle school, he changed - turned easy - although I always kept my guard up. He even got to the point where he'd participate in normal dinner conversation, although we did have some rousing political debates until I finally said no politics while eating - it was enough to ruin my digestion:)

      Good luck with the giveaway and I wish you all the best with your children.

      ~ Jen ~

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    2. Hi Summer! Welcome to the OWG blog! You are the winner of A Talent for Trouble in paperback! Congrats! Will be posting this up top and hope to hear from you at OWG@aol.com soon!

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    3. Carrie, I sent an email. I hope you got it. I sent it on Sunday, the 24th.

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  5. Next will be marriage and grandchildren. Enjoy that time in your life.

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    1. I'm looking forward to the grandchildren business, but not for a few years:) Dom's going to college for engineering so I think he's going to have his hands full for quite some time.

      Good luck with the giveaway, and have a great weekend!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  6. I absolutely love this :) I too am raising an independent, full of spunk little one and she is my greatest gift from God. I love the adventures she creates for us! She's added a whole new level to my life :) Isn't motherhood the best?! :)

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    1. Motherhood is certainly the best, although I wasn't quite counting on it being so hard to let go....

      Good luck with the giveaway and have a fabulous weekend!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  7. I'm about to be a mom for the first time. What an adventure. Thanks for the giveaway, too!

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    1. Congratulations, Kate, and you are certainly in for an adventure, but a fabulous one!

      Wishing you all the very best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  8. Wow you sound like a great Mom. I grew up around all boys and loved doing boy stuff. I don't know that I could handle it as an adult though! More power to you.

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    1. Thank you, Robin, and I must admit I was constantly surprised as Dom grew up how dirty I always seemed to get - the beaver dam was the worst though - the mud was red and really slimy - although he did sink in this old pond one time - it was a pond I used to ice-skate on - but it had this leak in it - when I took him down to see it, it was really swampy and he saw a frog....needless to say, by the time I pulled him out, we were covered in this black goop, smelled horrible, and the frog had gotten away:)

      Good luck with the drawing!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  9. Jen, Your Dom sounds so much like my Barrett. I use to say that if they made cages for kids, I would have gotten one for Barrett. He was in to everything and there were times I just didn't know what to do with that kid! Fast forward to today....he is 32 years old, college educated, and married to a wonderful woman. Barrett took us down many roads and gave us many interesting experiences and were were and are very blessed to have him as well as our daughter, son-in-law and three precious grands!

    Thank you for your wonderful post....it brought back so many memories! And that you for your great giveaway.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story, Melanie:) Boys can certainly be pesky, but it is lovely to watch them grow. Everyone kept telling me he'd turn out well, but there were times I wasn't exactly buying that idea. But, he did turn out fairly well, and I'm anxious to see what lies in store for him next.

      Good luck with the giveaway, and I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  10. What a great story, Jen! My senior I sent off this year was my # 8 grandsugar, the oldest of the 4 grandsons O'Pa and I've been rearing. I got him when he was a six-year-old, but praise the Lord, he wasn't like Dom. God knew I was too old for that! (52 then :) He was a firstborn of his brothers, so responsible and such a leader. He got Class Favorite and Most Handsome honors from his senior High School class. The 2nd boy went to live with other grandparents when grandpa broke his hip, so we are down from four to two - what a difference. We'll have an empty nest again when I turn seventy - until then, there are more Meet the Teacher nights and lots of homework to check :) ENJOY your sweet time with hubby and thanks for sharing! Do I get to see you at ACFW??

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    1. Hey Caryl - thanks for stopping by and sharing your story - what an inspiring tale:) And, yes, I'll be at ACFW - we'll have to make sure to spend some time together.

      Have a fabulous week!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  11. Great story. It made me giggle a little. Ü
    I think it surprises us all, how fast kids grow up. In diapers one minute and off to college the next.

    Please enter my name in the giveaway. Thanks!!
    cindialtman(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Delighted to learn I made you giggle, Cindi:) Life with Dom has been somewhat amusing....

      Good luck with the drawing, and I hope you have a great rest of the weekend!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  12. Glad your son is doing so well! You are never too old to need a mom!
    Enjoy Becky

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    1. Thank you, Becky - and I see that you're from Ohio - I'm originally from St. Clairsville, Ohio - the scene of Dominic sinking in a swamp - I really do miss my home state:)

      Hope you have a great week, and good luck with the drawing.

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  13. Having 3 sons and 2 all grown up, I can say that time does fly by, now my oldest son has a son also and its so nice to see him grow up, although I live in NY currently and they are in TN. I would so love to go back sometime to see them, maybe move there again and get my sewing stuff. I talk to Wesley almost daily, sometimes several times a day via texts, messenger and on the phone. My son Michael lives in NH and works a lot, He is my Techy child ! and Daniel is 6 years old and getting so big now, growing like crazy.
    Thank you for sharing Jen, transitioning can be hard at times.
    Blessings
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books
    http://www.faithfulacres.net

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Linda, and I certainly agree that time does seem to fly. I hope you get back to TN sometime - although I used to live in NY and it really is beautiful there.

      Wishing you all the very best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  14. Oh what a wonderful post...I too thought I was going to have the cutest little spoiled rotten girly girl but GOD had other plans for me. My husband and I have two of the best sons anyone could ask for, my youngest one was a lot like your Dom; he never saw fear in anything. We were at the ER more times than I want to remember and we got a few raised eyebrows and were even questioned closely. Thank goodness he has outgrown that phase! lol

    I'll be thinking of you as you cope with your best buddy going off to college. Both of our sons chose to go to College locally so I have them for a while longer. :-)

    Thanks for being with this week on OWG...it's been a great week reviewing A Match of Wits!!

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    1. Thank you, Teresa, for having me here. I always adore coming to your blog - your readers are just so friendly. I've spent many a day and night at the ER as well. The last one was only a year or so ago - when Dom decided to long-board down this very large hill and crashed - it wasn't pretty - he came home and asked for a Band-Aid but when I lifted up his shredded shirt - yeah, we went straight to the hospital - the good news is that he's not that anxious to board down really big hills - although he did snow-board off a cliff this past ski season - I wasn't there for that one, and luckily, he wasn't hurt - or at least not gravely injured....

      Hope you have a great week, and thank you again for hosting me. It's been fun!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  15. I too had a few of those moments with both of my sons, but I think my 3 daughters were responsible for my grey hairs. ;-) Now, it is the grands that will keep us entertained with their antics; however, I have also been surprised that my adult children have continued to keep us hopping sometimes. I believe it was only a couple days ago, when is said, "I THOUGHT it was suppose to get easier when they were adults!" ;-)
    Vicki

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    1. I have quite a few friends who have girls, Vicki, and they tell me the very same thing:) I'm hoping Dom won't cause me too many more problems, but...time will tell.

      Hope you have a great week, and good luck with the giveaway!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  16. Thank you for that beautiful post, Jen - it gave me a laugh also!! Kind of relived my 2 boys growing up through your post.

    My oldest son was just like Dom - I remember not only locking the kitchen cabinet doors, but taking the drawers out as he would open them and use them as steps to climb on the counters and frig, etc. - stood on his high chair tray as well. From there he progressed, when in daycare, to cutting a hunk out of another child's hair, flushing their toys down the commode and falling out of a tree with a branch rammed through his leg - requiring serious surgery. And let's don't even talk about the escapades of those teen years!!

    Like you, I always wanted a little girl - even as a young girl shopping with my mother, I would pick out all the clothing with frills, ribbons, and lace that I fancied dressing my little girl in. However, I'm thankful for my 2 grown sons with which God has blessed me, and grateful for His help in raising them to be the wonderful men they are - despite my inefficiencies as a mother!!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Bonnie - your boys sound absolutely delightful - I especially enjoyed the whole taking a chunk out of another child's hair - Dom once hit his best friend, Summer, over the head with his dump truck for no reason at all - and then he proceeded to try and charm Summer's mom...as if he hadn't done anything wrong - bless his little, troublesome heart.

      Good luck with the drawing, and I hope you have a fabulous week!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  17. Aww, thanks for sharing! Sounds like you had some awesome adventures raising that young man. You know he will have great stories to tell you when he comes home on breaks. :)

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  18. What a wonderful post and tribute to your son! It makes me smile.

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