“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.