Saturday, September 14, 2013

My New Mantra

“This is not my problem.”

That’s been my new mantra for the 13 days since I dropped my oldest son at college. I left him with his mini-fridge in the middle of his dorm room, no apparent wall space to accommodate it. His smoke detector was chirping every 7 minutes, probably needing a battery. And the all-important full-length mirror had yet to be hung.

A lot has changed since our parents dropped us at school. Opening the trunk of the car...handing us a duffel of clothes and a milk crate of record albums. I don’t think I’ve shopped this much in preparation for anything other than having a baby. Which is ironic in a way, no?

As they checked in, each student received a packet that included a website address where you could fill out a room report, logging in anything in disrepair so you wouldn't be charged for it at year's end. My son’s closet door wouldn’t slide closed and there was also a hole in it. His top desk drawer was nearly impossible to pry open. The kids have 72 hours to fill out a report. I was reasonably certain this wasn’t ever going to happen.

“That linoleum floor will get cold by October, should we get you a rug?” I asked.

He said he and his roommate would take care of it, but I don’t have high hopes for that either.

These are not my problems. These are not my problems. These are not my problems.

“Ok, well, I guess you’ll figure it all out,” I said, those particular words strangers on my lips.

And I left, feeling not sad or lost like I thought I would, but rather unexpectedly unburdened, a feeling that I find foreign and needing to be remedied, like a splintered piece of fingernail that I can’t keep the rest of my fingers off of.


  1. Great! Touching. Detailed. Heart-tugging. Funny. Good fingernail metaphor (so rarely used, those.) Loved it. Can't wait for more.

  2. I hope this a beginning of a new series, on what it's like to have one son off at college, and one son still at home. This is a brave new world, tell us more!

  3. I agree with both comments above.

    I was going to write "agree with both above" but then figured that might drive some of you writer types to madness.

    BTW, I have a similar feeling about dropping off my 9 yo at middle school. Now that he is in middle school, the teachers and the school expect so much more from him, like to remember what their assignments are, finish them on time and know where their workbooks are for each subject, including their recorder for music class.

    But I'm pretty sure that won't happen. Also, it was all the parents of sons during curriculum night asking the teachers about homework assignments, homework workbooks and how we would A) find all these items and B) know what was what and when it was due