My husband and I brought our first born to college this weekend. Seven hundred miles away. The campus was amazing – like Disney World for college students. The university sits in the epicenter of the North Carolina furniture region so the study areas are filled with beautiful furniture atop lush rugs. Not like the state university I attended where you had a study carrel and a hard plastic chair. As we toured, we heard a father say that he wanted to stay for the semester. We agreed.
Our son will be living in a two bedroom suite with three other boys. They are from the South so Ethan will learn about the southern culture. One roommate has worked at a fast food restaurant and considers himself an expert at cleaning bathrooms. (I tried not to cheer upon hearing this and let on that my biggest worry has been the state of a bathroom shared by four boys). Another roommate, who comes from a rural area, brought an ironing board and iron and promises to teach Ethan how to do his own shirts. Hmm, interesting.
During the formal convocation ceremony, the Student Body President addressed the twelve hundred freshmen and gave them some sage advice. With his arms spread wide, gesturing toward the beautiful surroundings, he said to them “Do your work. If you don’t, you cannot stay here. It’s that simple.” Excellent advice. I craned my neck to see if I could find my son in the sea of students and be sure he was listening.
When if was time to say goodbye, my husband and I focused on how happy Ethan was and how lucky. We dealt with the lumps in our throats and gave a hug that wasn’t too long or desperate. We smiled and let him go.
Ethan is happily ensconced in his little slice of heaven. He starts classes this morning and I hope someone will wake him up. I miss him, but am thrilled that he is happy and in a place where he can grow, mature and succeed. Now if he can just remember to study!