Now it was my turn.
My son was fated to attend the university that I taught at (no matter where it was) because my academic career has been marked by decisions based on ideals rather than rational thought. This has meant that we have never been able to save a small fortune for our children's education. But that was OK, if my children attend the university where I teach at then they can live at home and they only have to pay half tuition. Nothing, and I mean nothing beats the 75 cent bowl of cereal for breakfast.
When I explained this to my son he thought about it for a long time and about half way through high school made an important decision. If I could not afford for him to go to a larger university and he refused to go into debt for his education then there was only one solution. He worked very hard for two years and got a full ride academic scholarship (tuition, residence and fees for four years) to a good university. It was like hitting the lottery.
It was a long drive to get him there and we listened to selections from my vast collection of "driving" music from my youth all the way. Somehow the music sounded different on the lonely drive home. It was all rather melancholy and it reminded me of the end of Lord of the Rings where Merry and Pippin show up flying Deus ex Machina Airways to accompany Sam back to Hobbiton. Gandalf famously says "Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep;for not all tears are an evil."
I had to get past it so rummaging around under one of the seats I found an old tape of Monty Python skits. It got me home.
I have work to do and my son has a life to get started but I think I can look into the eyes of those parents with a bit more empathy now.