Dear Ms. Feverfew –
This morning, you start college. Not only is it Monday (oh, how I love the promise of a Monday morning with the clean week ahead of me) but it is also the beginning of a new school year, which I love even more than a brand new, shiny Monday morning.
How do I know you are starting school? Well, G. told me during one of our last phone conversations. She was slightly aghast and perplexed as to why you would chose the school you did and “why on earth” you would want to move out. “None of the other kids are interested in going to school or leaving home. I just don’t understand her.”
I do. I totally understand. After all, you are bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh regardless of what some piece of paper says.
To me, heaven would be semester after semester of interesting, challenging, and exciting classes. Heck, I love school so much that when I die, I want to be buried in the cemetery adjacent to USU, as close as possible to the gates on the side by the university. There is nothing more intoxicating to me than the heady scent of a library full of books, just waiting to be cracked open and their treasures discovered. There are few things as propitious as an empty 5-subject notebook waiting to be filled with notes, ideas, assignments, and email addresses of new friends from a new semester.
On Saturday, I was at the Farmer’s Market over on Duke of Gloucester, across the street from College of William & Mary. Herds of freshman were wandering through on their campus tours, parents following close behind. Down Richmond Road, parents were helping their kids unload their stuff. I stopped by Staples to pick up some china markers (no one knew what they were – I finally found them on Amazon), the store was full of parents and their newly minted freshman children. I couldn’t help but think of you and wonder if you were doing that exact same thing over the weekend with G. And I wondered…
- Does she know what you want to major in and why you have chosen that field?
- Did she take you shopping for your new place?
- Did she help you sort through your things at home, helping you decide what will be needed (and practical!) at college? Does she even know what will be needed and what will be practical?
- Did she fill your boxes with new pencils, paper, notebooks, and a laptop with the admonition that you simply must email her everyday that first week just to let her know you are doing?
- Did she pour over the course catalog with you and salivate over classes like “Introduction to Art Photography” or “Adult Learning Theory” or “Human Physiology 101” ?
- Did she help you craft your first fall schedule, making sure to remind you to not take any classes before 8:00 a.m.? After all, it gets cold in the winter and face it, 8:00 a.m. in December is a miserable time to be out.
- Was she as excited about getting your schedule finalized as you? Did she call all of her friends and brag about the amazingly cool classes you were taking?
- Did she take you to her favorite salon for one last huzzah as mother & daughter, getting your hair done, your nails, and a nice massage? After all, you want to be looking & feeling your best that first week of school.
- Did she help you unload all of your things at your new place? Did she bring her sewing machine so that once you had measured your windows, you could go to the fabric store, pick out some fabric for your curtains, and then she could sew them up for you?
- Did she take you and your new roommates out for dinner to celebrate your new-found independence?
- Did she discuss with you the difference between buying a used textbook and a new one? (Though I truly prefer a new textbook, always buy a used one for the harder classes if you can – they frequently have awesome notes in the margin!)
- When you brought home your books from the bookstore, did she “borrow” them for a couple of days? Did you have to remind her to please not highlight anything in them, no matter how interesting she thought it was?
- Did she tell you how important it is to find a “mentor professor” to help you navigate your college years? Did she suggest that you find an established research group in your area of interest to hang out with on occasion?
- Did she teach you how to cook, how to clean, how to balance your checkbook? How to iron? Sort the darks from the lights and to never wash a new red anything with other clothes that aren’t in the same color family? Did she teach you how to sew a button on and how to knit colorful, funky scarves for those long, cold, dreary winter months?
- Most of all, before she left you, did she hug you, smooth your Polynesian curls with the warmth of her hand, and kiss your forehead as she declared how pleased she was that you are going off to college and that she knew you would succeed at whatever you set your mind to?
I know I would have. I hope and pray your mother did, because you deserve that in your life.
Much love and belief –