Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Trip to College

Today is a beautiful day, and it smells like the beginning of a college year. The sky is almost heartbreakingly blue, and the breeze has just enough coolness in it to hint of football games, jerseys, and those big, hefty books. My oldest is a sophomore, and today is the day I drive him two and a half hours away to his second year of school.

I leave home as a responsible, secure, grown-up mother. But the farther from home we drive, the more we transform, my son and I. We both know, after all, that this is his road we’re following. By the time we're there, I feel as lost as a child. “Where is the exit?” I have to ask. “Where do I turn?”

And he tells me, guiding us expertly though this place that is his home for the second year now. When we get to the dorm, he holds my door. “Is this too much?” he asks, handing me a modest pile of bedding to haul up to his dorm room. I feel so small and helpless next to this big big boy who knows so much.

The first trek up four flights of stairs feels good after the long drive. The second is a workout. After that, my son has to stop occasionally to wait for me. He is gentle, gentlemanly, solicitous. He checks to make sure I am okay. “You can do it,” he encourages. And I do.

When we get there, I ask him where he wants me to put his things. Last year his roommate’s mother arranged things the way she wanted them. I can’t do that. This is his room, his world. I am only a brief visitor here.

When it’s all hauled up, my son walks me down to my car. He writes out careful instructions telling me how to get home. “Do you think you have it?” he asks.

I am about to go back out into that world alone. I nod, putting on a brave face, and we hug each other hard. “Thank you.” We both say it at the same time. And then we smile, and we each turn to go home.

“My children teach me everyday that I’m less in control than I thought I was.” ~Nina Miller


  1. You're a great mom! (Did you have any tears?)

  2. Thanks! Tears of happiness...I love the kid dearly, but his room is clean for the first time this summer! ;)


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