And Then There Were None

About three weeks ago we sent our last child off to college. As any of you with multiple children know, each child is different. With our first one off to college, there were tears, stress and a bit of chaos. I remember the night before we took her to the College of Charleston, I took one last look at our dining room table and was pleased with the amount of stuff that was there. Mary Claire and I had spent weeks planning her dorm room making sure every detail was thought of…cute bedspread and dust ruffle, matching lamp and rug, storage items, bulletin board with oh-so-cute push pins, hand made art, etc…I didn’t feel like it was excessive, just right. It would all fit in one car. THEN, I woke the next morning to an explosion of stuff! The lamp, bedspread and pushpins all had a wild party and something happened! There was a soccer ball, tennis racket (she had never been on the court), a guitar (took two lessons from some guy), winter clothes, our good frisbee, a camel, deck chair and the kitchen sink. OMG! These pics were taken as she headed off her senior year. It took a truck AND my SUV to get her down there as a freshman.Then there was Adam. Adam was reporting to The Citadel. Needless to say, they sent you a very specific list…10 pairs of white calf socks, 10 pairs of black socks, 10 white undershirts…We went the week before to Target and checked off the list. That was it. No cute stuff. Nothing extra. Just the list. All of his stuff fit into two large storage containers. Then there is Thomas. I tried all summer to get him to think about college. “Don’t you want to go out and get some stuff for your dorm room?” Naw. “Hey! Meet me at Target and we’ll get you ready to move in!” Ma, I think I’ll just think about this later.

I get it. He’s a guy. So, on Saturday we loaded up his car with all eight things, including two pillows, some towels and a set of sheets.

He did pack something…a polar tech sweater (its only 90* right now) in a box. That’s it. A sweater in a box. I really wanted the day to special for him. So I baked a batch of muffins. Every Saturday when the kids were young, more than likely a friend or two would have been spending the night. I would have muffins on Saturday morning. This was a special day and I wanted to bring that special feeling back. Here are my muffins…burned to a crisp. Ok. So the day isn’t starting out like I’d like. As we pulled into the parking lot, there is my wonderful family waiting to help their boy move into college. Because there was such a small amount of stuff, everyone got to carry a pillow, or a pair of shoes or a box all in one load!

Then as soon as this picture was taken, the residence hall guy asks Thomas for his card that tells them Thomas has paid his dues. Oops! Mom had forgotten to bring that little piece of important information. Luckily for me, Spartanburg Methodist College is only a few minutes away, so I quickly drove home to get the card. Mom is really making the day great.So, by the time I returned, all six shirts and two pairs of pants were hung. (I know Thomas’ grandmother hung those up. He would normally stuff them in a drawer.)The bed was made. (His grandmother, whom we affectionately call Nanny, made me promise I would get him a proper comforter. A blanket is just not enough to keep her baby warm.)One of the things that threw Mary Claire into a tail spin when she moved into college that first year, was that her brothers didn’t have respect for her things. Her brothers, the pack mules, would grab as much as they could carry and take it up the two flights of stairs to her room. (As much crap as she had, I was so thankful to have these guys helping. Just sayin.) Unfortunately, by the time they made it half way up, clothes were slipping, jewelry that she had so painstakingly arranged in the organizer became jumbled. She remembers clearly seeing her brothers dragging her clothes on the floor. So today, she decided to get one of them back. (Not sure how effective it was in “getting” him back, but she felt better.)It took a total of 15 minutes to get him set up. No cute posters. No comforter and dust ruffle. Just the basics. The boy is in.

Seven people came to help , encourage and love on this boy. My heart overflowed with love. Moments before I felt like I had just ruined this day for him. Then I looked around and realized that love overwhelmed any mistakes. Thomas is starting a new chapter in his life. I am so excited to see what God has planned for him. No matter what, this family will be there to support him.

I think part of being a good parent is seeing each child as unique, wonderful individuals. This cool as a cucumber kid is not his sister, nor his brother or mother or father. He is Thomas. He has a heart as big as anyone I’ve ever seen. He knows what he wants and will do what he can to get it. He isn’t afraid of hard work. I know whatever path he takes, it will involve helping people. I love this boy of mine.

Son, you may be a college boy, but remember your momma is always here.Huh. I guess you know that. (Just had to run by for a screwdriver, so he could put a table together…and a snack.)


Here is a quick video I made him take of his room:

Thanks for dropping by!

It’s Gonna Be Alright

20130823-121149.jpgMany of my friends are being diagnosed with the “Empty Chair Syndrome”. You all know what it is….you’ve set the table every night for 18 years, in my case for five people, and now all of a sudden, you have one less chair to set for. We just spent the last year experiencing “this will be the last….” fill in the blank….soccer game, first day of school, school lunch packed. You get the idea.

20130823-122835.jpgI remember when I dropped this pretty young thing off at the College of Charleston three years ago. There was so much going on before the big move-in day, that by the time we’re hauling boxes up I was too stressed and tired to be sad. It didn’t hit me until a week or so later, when I was driving to a cross country meet being held at a school I had not been to before. Mary Claire had run for the high school team for four years, so I was accustomed to arriving around 4:45. This particular day I thought I was running a bit behind for Adam’s race. It took longer than expected at the sub shop and I went a couple of miles down the wrong road. My heart started to race and I could feel the dam beginning to break. I was trying so hard to be at the meet before 5:00 when the girls raced. Then it dawned on me….Mary Claire wasn’t racing! She wasn’t even there! She was in Charleston! Whaaaaaaa!

I was crying so hard I could barely see. At a stoplight, a kind gentleman pulled up beside me, rolled down his window and asked if I was alright. I sputtered out that I was just fine! Whaaaaa!

This past weekend we took two kids off to college. (Which you can read about here.) Again, like it was three years ago, it was a very busy time getting ready for the move. But this time I am more excited for them than I am sad. I know that Superman and I did the best we knew how to raise them. There is still lots of growing up to do, but that is one of the benefits of going away to college. I am confident that they will make mistakes and do things they wish they hadn’t. Luckily, they are doing it in a relatively safe environment and still have a loving home to regroup in if need be.

20130823-125146.jpgNow that Thomas doesn’t get home from cross country practice until 5:45, I found myself in my craft room. I saw these pretty papers and was inspired to make some cards for my friends going through the empty chair syndrome.

20130823-125332.jpgSome of my friends just sent their first off and others sent their last. I’m sure we are all having the same mixed emotions of joy and sadness.

20130823-125545.jpgHopefully, if these sweet mommas are having a bad day, they will be uplifted with some kind words in a pretty card.

Is there someone you know who could use a hug, a smile or kind words of encouragement? It will mean so much to them….do it. Call them, text them or send a card.

Thanks for dropping by!