Saturday, August 23, 2014

Day 445


August 23, 2014


Day 445


It's a rainy, dreary morning - which I do not mind.  There's a stationary front parked over our part of the Midwest right now (so the weatherman says) that is causing it to be super humid, hot and rainy for days on end.  Last night I went to scrapbooking and it was so humid as I drove home around midnight that it looked foggy out at times and I had to use my wipers for the entire 45 min. ride home, even though it wasn't raining a bit.  I woke up to a thunderstorm, which I love.  But the sun is peeking out now so I am guessing the soupy air and heat will soon follow.  Thankfully, I have a temperature controlled house and don't have to worry about it!


"Temperature Controlled" - that was a phrase I just thought of yesterday. Paul used to say I was "spoiled" because I was never very happy unless the temperature in the house was perfect.  I cannot stand to be too hot.  The older I get I even find myself structuring my life around temperature.  I won't go to outdoor activities when it's too warm and I get very unhappy in the winter when it's extraordinarily cold for days on end.  I crave physical comfort and when it's not there I tend to get quite cranky.    I was thinking about how I like my life to be all orderly and how, when things happen, whether it's something major like Paul's death or minor, like a fluorescent light out in my kitchen that I can't fix, I get really agitated on the inside.  Someday, if I write a book about all this I may call it my "Temperature Controlled Life" or something like that.



Well, the big news this week was Will's departure to college.  What an emotionally charged week!  Tuesday we went shopping for all the dorm things he would need.  That took all day long, which surprised me.  It didn't cost as much as I thought it would.  I had already purchased a number of things over the summer, but this was stuff he needed to pick out.  He bought his own fridge.  Last Sun. night our church had a fingerfood fellowship for all the college bound students (5 of them) and gave them each a $100 gift card.  I had no idea they would be so generous.  But when I heard that I suggested to Will he might be able to get his own dorm fridge. 


I don't know if this is a guy thing or a generational thing.  When I went to college 25 years ago there were 5 of us in our suite.  We rented a single, tiny little fridge - less than 2 cubic feet.  All 5 of us shared it and fought over the ten tiny ice cubes the freezer would make.  Will bought a 2.7 cubic fridge which is about the size of the one we used to use in our camper for our whole family.  Now, the set-up at Faith is 2 students per room.  They tore down all the old dormitories and built nice, modern ones sometime since I was there.  When I was in Will's room Thurs. I saw that his roommate has his own fridge, too - and it's bigger than Will's!


In my mind, I had Thursday all planned out.  We'd all go up to Faith, pick up Will's room key, and all help him move in.  Will was grumbling about my insistence on taking all the kids, but I informed him this was a family event and we were all going.  I should have listened to him.  I had a hard time getting Will out the door in the first place.  He is so much like Paul, personality-wise, including the parts that used to drive me insane, like his inability to worry about anyone else's schedule.  I could never hurry Paul along and I can't make Will go any faster, either.  First, Will and I had to stop by the bank so Will could deposit all his camp paychecks and we could get a vaccine exemption notarized.  The poor kids had to wait in the (air conditioned) van for all of that.  Then, we get up to the school and I see a big sign that says, "Registration" strung across the Nettleton Center.  It was then I began to get an inkling that this process might be more involved than I first thought. 


I eventually texted David and told him to bring everyone in.  They sat on couches in the lounge while I waited in different lines forever with Will.  By the time we got all done all I had only enough time to snap a picture of Will and load everyone up again and go.  It's a 40 min. drive from our house and I had to be back up at the school for supper and parents' meetings (something Will only informed me about Wed).  So Will had to move into his dorm by himself which I think was his preference all along.  I felt bad for the rest of the kids who had all wanted to see where Will was going to be living.  They assured me it was ok, though.


That evening I was back and got to see the new (to me) dining hall.  Wow - what a difference a quarter of a century can make!  The food was wonderful and I had a nice chat with Will's roommate, Jacob.  Will was too busy shoveling supper into his mouth to talk much.


I found myself getting sadder and sadder as the day progressed, though.  Being up there alone, surrounded by all these couples dropping their children off, was NOT how this was supposed to go.  Paul would have gotten such a kick out of this day and it would have been so special for the two of us as we mentally relived our freshman year on the very same campus.


After one meeting, they shooed all the freshman off for some "getting to know you" activities and the parents had to sit through 2 hours of meetings.  Ugh - no matter how many more kids I bring to Faith, I am never attending these meetings again!  My back hurt and I didn't have any graceful way of exiting since I was sitting in the middle of a row.  What they had lined up was good and I know designed to make the parents feel more at ease about leaving their kids.  But I felt like a lot of it just didn't apply to me.


Will is already so independent.  He was born that way.  I commented to him the other day that I think I need him more than he needs me.  He replied, "Yeah, I'd say that's about right."




Then they had this one woman, who had all of her kids go through Faith, talk to us primarily about adjusting to the separation.  I'm not saying what she had to say wasn't good, but I sat there and thought to myself, "Lady, you have no idea..."  Most of these parents will go home and maybe feel a little blue for awhile that their nest has a little more elbow room now (as my brother poetically expressed it).  But their lives will continue on in a predictable path.  Their child's departure doesn't represent the hardship to them that Will's does to me.  If something breaks and David or I can't fix it, I'm stuck. I don't have another driver now.  If circumstances arise that require me to be in two places, I have to make sacrifices and adjust my schedule rather than sending the kids one way and me another.  Their child's absence doesn't feel like the blow Will's does to me because of already losing his dad.


But it's time for him to go.  Will is more than ready.  This is the year.  Financially, he's more prepared now to handle tuition than he would have been a year ago.  He got the job he interviewed for Monday at Sportman's Warehouse there in Ankeny and starts in three days.  He is good to go!


Will  gave me a year that he didn't have to.  For that, I will always be grateful.  He helped cushion me this first year as I adjusted to sudden singleness. He finished my house which was HUGE!  I honestly look forward to watching the rest of his life unfold - from the spectator's stands.  It's that part that makes me sad.  I want to be out there on the field with him, still!


So, I drove home Thurs night with a mixture of pride and sorrow in my heart.  I held it together, though.  Yesterday I met with Marcia and didn't hold it together so well, then.  She assured me that all her kids went off to college, convinced they no longer needed their parents either, only to come back a few years later filled with renewed gratefulness for Mom and Dad.  She looked at me straight in the eye and said, "You can do this, Sarah!"  She reminded me that I had made it all summer long without him and that God would provide the grace and strength necessary to survive this next stage of life.


I know He will and I also know I have a long, long time until I will have a completely empty nest.  I still have a whole lot of on-the-field parenting years left with the other kids.  This stage of life is far from over yet.  If anything, Will's departure to college gives me  renewed sense of purpose as I sow into Ben, David, Sam, Lizzie, and Ellie's lives.


But I'm going to miss him.  Twenty years ago at this time I was six months pregnant with Will and SO anxious to meet him, quit my job, and get on with the business of being a mother. In the blink of an eye it was over.


So fast.



I think he still needs me, though, at least a tiny bit.  Yesterday he called and texted a few times, as he got all the details of his loan ironed out and made a few trips to the campus bookstore for some books we didn't realize he needed (if I had I would have ordered them a lot cheaper off the internet, like I did the others).  He wasn't calling because he missed me - it was all business.  But I'll take anything at this point!  Tomorrow he wants to meet me in Des Moines so I can get him one book our pastor had and is loaning him and so I can reimburse him for what he spent at the bookstore.  I wanted to volunteer to drive up to Ankeny today and to bring him a hot meal and maybe a stuffed animal, too (not really).  But I refrained and told him I could make the Des Moines thing work.  I'm playing it cool.  Tomorrow when I see him I'll simply hand him what he needs and  not throw my arms around his neck and beg him to return home.


It's a new stage of life. 


For both of us.

































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