Friday, August 12, 2011

The Next Chapter

For the past couple of days, this has been parked in our driveway.

Early this morning, I stood in the driveway and watched it disappear down the street
carrying our son and most of his possessions.
He is beginning the next chapter of his life.
I know it is so cliche to say it seems like only yesterday.
Yet, it really does not seem that long ago this time of year simply meant purchasing a new blanket for rest time at  preschool.

Then, there were the years of buying boxes of fresh crayons and markers for kindergarten and elementary school.

He was responsible for making sure the backpack was filled with all the necessary supplies for those first day of classes during high school.

Preparation for college wasn't exactly fun for him, but I was in my glory --
shopping for sheets, towels, comforters and all those nifty storage bins and organizing gizmos and gadgets.
For the next four years, I loved strolling the aisles of favorite stores, selecting special surprises, combining them with homebaked treats, and shipping them off to remind him that he was loved and missed.

Those four years at Wake Forest University were probably his best.  I saw him flourish and come into his own.  He reveled in a campus rich with tradition.  He loved his classes and all that he learned.  He made friendships to last a lifetime.
He decided to return to Texas after graduation.  The last four years have not been the best.
The economy and job market have been tough.
He never found the perfect job or what made his heart sing.
During the last year, his father and I began to sense that change was in the air.
A couple of months ago, the lease on his apartment ended.  He moved home to save money.
I became used to having him here. 
His beloved Schnauzer became accustomed to more head scratches and being coaxed to jump on furniture when Mom was not looking.
Now, the house will be quiet again.
Groceries will last longer, thumps and bumps upstairs will cease, and music will not play into the wee hours of the morning. I will be the one curling up with the dog, as we try not to miss him too much.

His kindergarten teacher always referred to him as a little sponge.  He soaked up all that he could learn, and was always eager to learn more.
He will be a sponge again.
On Monday, he becomes a first year law student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
Of all his choices, I am actually quite pleased with this selection.  I know and love the city.  He will be closer to other family members in Tennessee.  He will also be closer to some of those friends from Wake.
It is the first time that I have not known where he is residing, or with whom he is living.  When he calls or emails, I cannot picture in my mind where he is.
He is taking a huge leap of faith, and I must make that leap with him.
For years, he said he did not want to be like his parents.  We grew up in a different time.  We just do not understand.  We march to a different drummer.
We will next see him in October when we attend his father's 30 year law class reunion at Vanderbilt.
Guess being a little like dear old dad is not so bad afterall!

Best of luck to everyone, little or big, heading off to new educational experiences.
Hugs for all of us watching them grow wings and soar.
Maybe I will go buy a fresh box of crayons just to remember the joy!
Happy Back to School!

Thank you for all the healing wishes and thoughts for my foot.  I am still limping along, but without quite as much pain.  It also gave me permission to just supervise the loading of that truck, and not participate in the heavy lifting!


Martha said...

Hugs. It is always a bittersweet cup to drink. We are excited for them yet a bit sad for ourselves. It is our job to work ourselves out of a job. I pray he settles in quickly and his new roommates look after him well.

Anonymous said...

I almost bought myself a pack of crayons yesterday...but didn't. I have not seen Secondborn's apartment (but know his roommates well) and probably will not see Firstborn's dorm once he leaves next week. Best of luck to Martin in his new studies!

Claudia said...

Ah, how wonderful that your son is starting on a new adventure! I know you will miss him dearly.


Lori said...

Awwww Jan. I love reading your written thoughts. You are gifted with the written and spoken word. You can rest easy knowing he is in God's country dear ;-)
You are a wonderful mother and I know he appreciates you more than he can say.

Sewbusymor said...

More hugs here Jan...I can relate as I watch my baby girl move on. I purchased a new box of 64 crayons [in it's anniversary tin] years ago! Opening that and sniffing is a wonderful way to start smiling. They have not been used...just sniffed...mine to remember and treasure the memories of days now gone. HUGS>>Karin

Brynwood Needleworks said...

Hi Jan:
How exciting for your son to be heading off to law school...and following in his father's footsteps, no less.

It's always hard for us to watch them head out on their own. I'm sure he knows your only an email or call away and will always be comforted in the knowledge of your unconditional love.

Sorry to read about your foot, too! Gosh. Please heal soon, alright?

Hugs to you, my friend.
Donna and Taggart

Lois said...

Oh, Jan, I feel for you...I remember the days when our son headed off to seminary in TX! And, now your son is heading to our neck of the woods for law school! And, I really got a chuckle as to why you will be seeing him in October!!!!!

God's grace to him and to you!

Pat said...

I have read your blog for the last couple of years, since I found it anyway. I'm so glad your son will be at Vanderbilt. I have worked here for almost 40 years, and I am in the library, just not the law library. I wish your son all the best, and all of your family.

Rettabug said...

Congratulations to your handsome son on being accepted into his father's alma mater! I know how proud you both are of him & his accomplishments.
That *empty nest* feeling is really hard, I know. Thank goodness for all the new ways to keep in touch, though. Tell him "send pictures!!"

Hugs to you, Jan...pat the poochie for me, k?

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