We have had all summer to emotionally and physically prepare to send The Boy off to school. I have been physically ready for some time but honestly over the past few weeks I also felt emotionally prepared.
I have enjoyed seeing so many parents post to social media as they too sent their children off to college. Dorm rooms were decorated, textbooks purchased, schedules have been walked, roommates have met, and good-bye's were made.
This past weekend, The Boy moved into college. But you won't find a single photo of it on my social media. You won't find a single post-move in comment anywhere. Sadly, I can't get a redo and this day is forever embedded into my memory.
Let me try and explain why.
About one and half weeks before school The Boy was invited to join a fraternity. He accepted. The fraternity requires him to move into their house so we cancelled his housing contract with the University. The fraternity actually wanted him to move in the week prior but we had one last lake weekend as well as doctor appointments so he could not.
We knew he was giving up a three-man, two room, private bathroom suite to a four-man, two-room suite with a hall bathroom. At the last minute, I rushed around and returned all twin-size bedding in the last week and repurchased full-sized bedding.
Our last night at home we made a meal at The Boy's request. Then we spent the night packing, laughing, and just being together. We got up early the next morning and quickly packed everything into two vehicles. The Boy and I made the two-hour trip together. We were in such good moods. We laughed. We sang along to the radio. I attempted to impart any last minute advice I could think of. Some very traditional and some was anything but traditional.
The Short Chic, The Husband, and my Momma also made the trip. So did The Boy's father. We arrived at the fraternity house a little after ten in the morning. The Boy's father got there first and learned most of the men were still sleeping. Sure enough, sleepy eyed, half dazed young men started coming out of the fraternity house to help us unload his belongings.
We were escorted up to our sons new room. The first thing I see when the door opened was a bar. The entire "study room" was lined with couches and a giant flat screen TV. The second room, the sleeping room, held not four beds but five. There was a single path through the sleeping room. Such tight quarters! The Husband quickly deemed the entire place felt like a "refugee camp."
We learned quickly there was no room for his stuff. The roommates, quickly tried to help him as much as possible. They moved things out of closet. Grandma started unpacking his clothing because we had transported them in plastic totes that we had wanted to take home. There was no desk. No dresser. There was no sense of being settled. There was no sense that we had given our son every tool necessary for his success. Decisions about what to send home were coming from all different directions.
More than once in the fifty some minutes we were in his fraternity house, we were told the men in the room would organize and figure it all out and that it was no longer "Mom's problem." We were also told that the fraternity had an event at 12:00. They were serenading the sororities and since The Boy could not move down early he would not be dancing/singing with them but he would participate. The men were never rude to us, in fact I would say there were very nice and even bent over to assist us, but the unspoken truth was they were not ready for us at the house and our presence was unnecessary and they were ready for us to move on.
I half jokingly asked permission if it was okay to go to the bookstore and get textbooks. We had less than one hour to get textbooks before everyone was reporting back to get ready for the serenading.
One hour later, we had spent a quick $450 at the bookstore (did anyone else have to purchase an iClicker as a required item?), ran through a Burger King drive through, we arrived back at the fraternity parking lot. We did not even go back into his room, instead we stood in the parking lot with the truck running I was able to take one photo of him. His mouth full of food, as we said good-bye.
In less than two hours, we had arrived on campus, unloaded, reloaded with everything he did not have room for, purchased books and said good-bye.
The last two days have passed me in a blur of tears. I can't stop thinking about how we left each other, how rushed it was, and the conditions in which we left him in. The Short Chic and I cried ourselves to sleep last night. She kept saying, "I lost my bubby." I felt unable to console her because I could not console myself. My loving husband told me today I look like I have black eyes and my face is all puffy.
I honestly believe I was emotionally ready. I think had the circumstances been different I would have been sad but not devastated. I do realize that I physically prepared him for college as I thought about my own college experience. I realize now, he is having his own experience and it is foreign to me. A few people close to me tell me by the time we go back for Parent's Weekend that the house will look completely different (that is because the pledges will be required to clean and spruce up the place).
The good news is he texted this morning and raved about the great night of sleep he got. He loves his new bedding. Of course he still does not have power strips or a dresser. Classes start tomorrow and I can only hope that he remembers the reason he is at school. And I do believe in the long run, his decision to join a fraternity will be positive decision with long-term benefits.
I just wish we had a do-over of move-in day.