Chase Is Officially A Wildcat

It happened. I dropped my baby off at college. It was exciting and horrible at the same time. The only thing that kept me from completely losing my sanity was the fact that I’m so unorganized. I was running around like a crazy person the morning of the big move barking orders at both of my sons and my husband. “Did you pack the first aid kit inside the storage bins? Did you pack undershirts? What about a jacket? Did you pack enough socks? Why don’t we have enough hangers?”

For some reason, I was treating my son’s move to the K-State dorm as if he was going off to a deserted island. I loaded him up with doubles of soap, deodorant, shampoo, laundry soap, cleaning supplies and any possible solution he could need for an upset stomach, cold, scrapes, headache, sunburn…you name it…I threw it in his “survival kit”.  It is as if I thought he wasn’t capable of going to the store and buying his own stuff. I guess, as a mom, I just wanted to make sure he had everything he needed. I guarantee you the first time he wants DayQuil or a Band-Aid he is going to completely forget that I put that stuff in his closet and go running to the student store in the lobby.

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There is a huge difference in boy dorm rooms and girl dorm rooms. Chase took everything he needed and wanted but nothing extra. I did convince him to let us buy him a bean bag chair from Walmart but the poor kid has nothing on his walls. I posted the proud picture of his new living quarters on social media only to be teased that my kid looks like he moved to a prison. All of my friends with daughters were posting photos that looked like they were taken directly from Pinterest.

Back to the day I now refer to as “Baby Bird Left the Nest Day”. We got Chase all moved into his new room. We made the obligatory trip to Walmart for snacks and last minute forgotten items. And then it was time. The moment I had been dreading all day. It was time to say goodbye and make the long drive home. Fortunately, my son had a “get to know you” party with his new marching band section that evening. This meant that we had to focus on getting him there on time and could not linger in the dorm embracing him for hours refusing to walk away. We drove him to his car in a parking lot which, by the way, is not right next to his building. Who designed that system?

My younger son, Christian, gave big brother an awkward hug giggling and making some joke so as not to feel uncomfortable showing affection to the person that normally slams the bedroom door in his face. My husband hugged him in a masculine way with a quick squeeze and a pat on the back while whispering some kind of dad wisdom in his ear. Then it was my turn. Oh how I did not want it to be my turn. I pulled him close to me and squeezed tighter than I have ever squeezed before. I don’t remember exactly what I said, just that it was something about how proud I was and how great he was going to be at everything he does. Then the tears commenced. I did that ugly cry where your shoulders move up and down and you have to take a noisy breath to continue without passing out. I was about to reel it in and compose myself when I felt his chest move. I realized his shoulders moved up and down at least one time and he was not the first one to let go of the hug. We got in our car. He climbed into his. Our eyes locked one last time and I mouthed the words, “I love you”. He mouthed it back…and drove away.

It has been almost two weeks since that tearful goodbye. He called me once on my drive home that night and we texted a few times. Thank God for social media. The only way I’m surviving is by cyberstalking the K-State marching band on Facebook and Instagram. I am also not ashamed to admit that I often check in on him with the Find Friends app on my phone…not in an intrusive invasion of privacy way…just in a making sure you are alive and safe in your dorm at night kind of way. Chase loves to call me and share all of his new experiences too! Okay…that is a lie. He has called me three times this week from the University bookstore with questions about necessities for class. In fact, my exact words to him were, “Are you calling me to tell me about your first day at school or do you need something.” Without hesitation he replied, “I need something.” Hey…I’ll take it!

Teresa Maxwell