We took a trip down to visit our oldest boy in college this weekend, after he had moved himself down there on Thursday. I’d been having a bit of a rough time with the move, as I noted Friday: Goodbye is the hardest word.
I feel a lot better now, after taking this trip to see him. We’ve got mental images now, of him in his house, in his neighborhood, on campus, at the rec center. We’ve seen the streets that he rides, and the sidewalks that he walks. So, instead of just being “gone”, he is in a new place that we can picture. It seems to help. Now, it’s less about his absence, and more about his new presence somewhere else.
We left early Saturday, drove 5+ hours, arriving around 12:30 p.m. Lunch, then a grocery run, some errands, rest for a while, then take a cruise around campus. Then in the evening, hang out at his house on his front porch, have a couple beverages, while our kids play XBox in his living room. On the flat panel LCD. A roommate with some cool electronic gear? Priceless!
Pizza around 9, then head off to the hotel so that James could go out and enjoy his last Saturday night before the start of his first semester away at school.
Sunday morning, to Wal-Mart for a bike lock and a couple of SIU items, then drive around campus a little more. Late a.m., pick him up and to the bookstore to buy his books. $550 and 30 minutes later, done. College has gotten expensive, in case you hadn’t heard. Then lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings, back to his house, and time to head back home.
I’m really glad we went. And I’m thankful, too. I’m thankful that he’s so excited about being there. It’s probably more about being on his own, away from home and everything that goes with it, than it is about college itself. But he’s so much more grown up now than he was a year or two ago, and about as ready for college as he’ll probably ever be. So like I’ve mentioned to him once or twice, this is his one big chance to finally take advantage of his abilities and talents, and do some hard work, and get a degree, and use it as a ticket to success in life. I see the degree itself as more important than the major, much of the time, and especially if you are a people person, like he is.
So life is chugging along for us. We were all definitely a little bit sad when it came time to leave Sunday afternoon. After we pulled away, nobody said anything for a few minutes. Jake, our ten-year-old, took it especially hard. But he perked up after a while.
He told me later that listening to “Sweet Home Alabama” on his iPod helped him feel better. Neither of us knew why, exactly. But then, who cares?
And at least for today, we’re all mostly focused on how great an opportunity this is for James, how much he needs this as a young adult whose time has come to move on, and how happy he is to be moving on with his life.
It was a good trip. For all of us. For a whole bunch of reasons.