This is that time of the year where nearly every college age student tells their parent(s) —
“OK WOULD YOU JUST LEAVE!!!!”
It wasn’t quite that dramatic with our daughter, but that sentiment repeated itself many times over the course of the day yesterday in one form or another. It was really obvious that Alyssa was ready to get to task, a task that did not include her parents. My guess is that even the most dependent child stretches their wings of independence on college move in day, smelling the sweet odor of freedom (or whatever that leftover stench is left in the dorm). Alyssa is no exception, her independence already an admirable trait, but I have to admit that my daughter takes on an even stronger stance when it comes to the day for Mom and Dad to GO AWAY.
Have I said how much I love my girl? Yes. I know. Many times. Dang, do I love how much her life needs to be hers, yet how much she lets belong to her mother. It is such a delicate balance that she performs so well. All summer, perhaps the last summer we will have our daughter living in our house, Alyssa has shared intimate moments with her mother — watching videos while snuggled on her bed, shopping, getting coffee, giggling around the kitchen table. My daughter expresses her desire to be independent in a stern yet loving way.. and when I say that she is MY daughter. Yet she clings to her mother in the way that Miriam needs.. and Miriam reaaaaaaallly needs her daughter. That is fodder for another blog, so let’s leave that one right here. Plop. OK?
Alyssa starts her junior year of college in about a week and a half. As resident assistant for her dorm floor and a leadership scholar, she had to report over a week early in preparation for incoming students. When we moved her in yesterday, she was the only one on her dorm floor to move in.. a little creepy in some ways. I am pretty sure that she slept in the same room last night with another floor’s RA. My fastidious daughter carefully unpacked the boxes and bags stored all summer in our garage and her bedroom, reorganized what needed to return to school with her, then placed them outside the garage door for me to pack into my car.. and her car. Yes, this year is a first.
My daughter has her own car, a red 2007 Nissan Versa that Miriam purchased from her sister. The car has over 173K miles on it, but my favorite mechanic did close to $3000 of repairs on the car to return it to like new status. Miriam purchased the car for the price of the repair, a notion that I balked at, a little because of the mileage on the car and the uncertainty that comes with that. I also was not happy with the purchase because it didn’t happen the way I had hoped. I hoped that we would plan the purchase of a car for our daughter together, save the money and then find a vehicle that would be safe for our daughter to drive. Once again, another blog to write so let’s leave that one right here. Plop. OK?
I do need to say that it feels very strange to have a daughter at college, with her own vehicle, another step up along the rungs of independence. I like it, yet don’t like it. It’s a double edged sword.
We left at 6 AM for the four hour trek to Upland, Indiana. 6 AM, on the dot. Normally Miriam would drag her feet and we would leave later, but Alyssa didn’t allow that. My car and her car was packed the night before. All I had to do was add the two bicycles she needed to the rack on the back of my VW before we left, easily accomplished since I was out of bed, washed and ready before 5 AM. A trip to Dunkin and the gas station to fill up Alyssa’s car, and we were zipping happily along the Chicago tollway system.
Another brag — my daughter drives AWESOME. She needed to follow me through Chicago into Indiana since I know the way very well, but she led the west to east trek across Indiana (at my insistence) in a very expeditious manner. Alyssa is definitely my daughter. We arrived at Taylor University also in a very expeditious manner.
Hold on for a second.. I need to crank it like a chainsaw (thank you, Family Force Five). Fresh flannel shirt, country bumpkin.
Let me say inform you of this — I am a gimp right now. That sucks, especially since that means that I can’t ride a bicycle right now. Last Thursday night, I popped a calf muscle in a softball tournament. As my father reminded me, maybe it’s time to hang up the softball glove. However, I am milking the injury, my right calf wrapped in a compression bandage, a slight limp as I pitifully march along. Alyssa’s dorm room is on the third floor, without an elevator.
No, I did not beg out of carrying her stuff up the stairs. The pity factor did help, making both Miriam and Alyssa check up on me periodically to make sure that I was OK. Truthfully, it was more difficult. I am moving slow, more carefully, but I was able to do my fair share of the transfer from cars to dorm room. At one point, though, it became my job to perform a very essential task.
Before anything could be moved into the dorm room, the dorm room had to be arranged properly. Taylor University provides stackable and moveable furniture, which means that the occupant of each dorm room can decide on how the beds, dressers, desks, and book shelves can be arranged. Alyssa wanted to stack the beds on top of the desks, dressers, and bookshelves, much to the consternation of mother superior. Many times I had to be the intercessor, reminding Miriam that this was her daughter’s domain. As the father (I know the roles are interchangeable), my job is to be the calm one, the one with a calm maner that reminds the mother that this is the daughter’s decision, a decision that she can change as she wants.
“It’s her room. Let her do what she wants. She can change it if it doesn’t work.”
I have to admit that there was a bit of smug satisfaction, a superiority of sorts, as I made that pronouncement.
My smug manner was challenged as I undertook the assembly of the futon that Alyssa and her roomie had purchased together. That sucker was too big for the dorm room.
(heh heh heh) “She will just have to deal with it.” I reminded Miriam.
Alyssa was in a bit of a hurry. A 5:15 there was a staff meeting with the college president, more than likely an introductory to the college leadership staff, a cookout at his on campus house yet very important. By 3 PM, I had just finished the futon assembly and only her clothes were moved into the closet. All else was waiting outside the dorm suite to be moved in. But we still had a supply run to make to the local Walmart. Alyssa was nervous as she drove us to the store, plotting how we would accomplish the shopping tasks together. Alyssa and I went together to find our portion of the list, Miriam the other. We bought the majority of the items (my debit card is still screaming), filled the gas tank of Alyssa’s Nissan, and made it back to campus with 15 minutes to spare. We said a quick good bye in the dorm parking lot.
And. That. Was. It.
Oddly enough, Miriam and I had a very relaxed dinner together at Cracker Barrel (or Crackle Barrel if you so prefer), then a quiet trip back to Chicagoland.
Did I mention that the boy child started his senior year of high school yesterday……
(in the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey)