Monday, May 06, 2013

You will survive (believe it or not!)

Michael called last week and asked us to help him move out of his dorm room. So Saturday afternoon, Sean and I drove up to move him out. When we got there the only things that were packed were the car pictures he’d hung on his walls. Those had been stacked neatly and placed gingerly in a suitcase. Everything else: still in drawers, on hangers, on shelves.

After going to three different stores to find boxes, we got his room packed up and loaded into Sean’s truck. Michael still has a few days of exams to finish, so we left him with just enough clothes and Cokes to get him through Wednesday. Everything else went in the back of the Escalade. As we drove the boy’s stuff home, it hit me that his first year at college is almost finished. He’ll be home later this week. His freshman year will be in the books.

Wasn’t it just last year at this time I was crying every other minute, dreading the thought that he’d be away at school? And now the thing I feared is over?

How did this happen?

I got an email from a friend last night, telling me she had just submitted her son’s housing info for his freshman year at college. She said if she thinks about it too much she can barely hold herself together. She wrote, “The thought of taking him to campus, moving him in and then LEAVING HIM THERE is too much for me!”

Oh, honey, I know the feeling! But I also know she'll be okay.

I don’t blame her if she doesn't believe me.  I didn’t believe the people who told me I’d be okay. And there were plenty of people who did. They’d gone through it and they knew I would, in fact, be okay.

That’s the trick, though: they’d walked that path already and come out the other side mostly unscathed. And now, I have, too. Dropping him off was terrible. As bad as I feared. But then we entered into our new normal. And so did he. And it was good. We all had a really good year.

So, dear friend, allow me to be one of the many people adding my voice to the chorus of, “You will be okay.”

You really will.

And I will not be offended one little bit if you don’t believe me. But when you reach the point of thinking you absolutely cannot get through it, just remember that the woman who bawled her eyes out for months in anticipation of the dreaded drop-off actually survived. The same woman made it through the first family meal with an empty place at the table and the first family road trip with an empty seat in the car and the first of many, many days in a row of not talking to the child she’d never gone that long without talking to before. And this woman is telling you that it was okay. It was new and different and sometimes weird, but all in all, it was okay.

And in 12 months, you’ll be the one telling your friend of a senior that she too will be okay. Because even though you thought you wouldn’t survive, you did.

And you’re okay

Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.
Psalm 54:4