Our firstborn left for college this week.
I’ve been pretty calm about the whole departure, especially compared to my husband.
Mr. Family Meeting is heartbroken about his family being split up for the first time. I’m not exactly sure how to help him through this.
I’m sure it has a lot to do with the fact that Randy Sr. is what I call a “cycle-stopper.” He saw his own father rarely after the age of four, and they didn’t have a good relationship. Despite that, my husband has done a magnificent job of reversing that cycle of absentee fatherhood. Since Nov. 9, 1993 when he cut young Randy’s umbilical cord, he’s been a terrific and attentive dad. All this is pretty amazing considering he didn’t have his own father as a role model.
I’m blessed to be the youngest of four in a nuclear family, and all four of us went to college. All I needed to do was look at my parents’ example to guide me through the challenges of parenting. My parents attended college too, and they traveled away from home to do it. My family is so used to this pattern that I’m sure it’s what’s helping me adjust this next phase of life so smoothly.
As an extremely practical person, I crave organization. Our house has always been too small, and so my plan has long been to convert part of my son’s room into my new office once he started college. Since he left, I’ve hauled most of my personal papers up there, as well as my bins of scrapbooking stuff – the hobby that I never do because I never have a place to spread out my pictures and supplies.
I’m not throwing Young Randy’s stuff out but I’m carefully moving most of it into his closet.
As I was organizing the room, I found a required reading book he needs this week at college. I texted him and asked if he needed anything else, and he told me he wants his basketball shoes. I bundled it all up and sent it to him.
Then I ran across his baseball bag, untouched since the last game of his final season three years ago.
I had to laugh since it was stuffed with a dirt-stained uniform and his team cap with the “Heights” logo he wore for 10 years. C’mon son, you could have at least put the uniform in your hamper! I unfolded a crinkled-up batting glove, lifted his bat out of the bag, and then I was inhaling the memory of the baseball fields at Forest Hill Park, where Randy Sr. coached him every summer. And next thing I knew I was crying.
Even us tough guys aren’t immune from the power of a sweet memory.
– Margaret Bernstein Keller
2012 All Rights Reserved. The Family Meeting.