He’s Not Homesick But His Mom Is

It’s been a month since my son, Matthew left for college.  I had promised myself that I wouldn’t be a basket case and would not need a prescription for Xanax or several bottles of wine, although I purchased a few just in case.   All summer I knew this day was coming but boy, it sure showed up faster than I expected.

He drove down with his dad to the school the night before he was to move in, and I drove down the next morning with my parents so that they could finally see the campus.  We got to his new dorm early and started moving his things in.  I tried keeping myself busy by making his bed and unpacking his dishes and glasses.  After about an hour, he gently touched my arm and said “Hey mom, I think I can handle it from here.”   I forced myself to smile and suggested we go eat lunch instead.

Moving In The Dorm

After small talk over lunch my parents and I realized it was time to head on out.  I am actually proud of myself not turning into a blubbering mess when we were leaving and not squeezing the life out of him when I gave him the biggest hug of his life.  He sweetly kissed my cheek and said “I’ll be fine mom.  I promise I’ll text you.  I love you.”

I held it together until I got in the car and then I just boo-hooed all the way back to Atlanta.  I cried to the point where I had massive amounts of snot and I was running out of tissues and I was sucking in short, rapid breaths like toddlers do when they have a meltdown.  But I made it.

Matthew & Mom

So day one came and went and I didn’t hear from him.

Day two came along and I finally heard the familiar country song that plays as his ring tone coming from the bottom of my purse.  I dropped everything and dug down into the black abyss that is my purse, searching for my phone.

“Hey Mom!  I have the funniest story to tell you…” and he went on to tell me about his first night on campus.   We talked for a while and then he said he’d call me later in the week.  My heart filled as he hung up with  “love you Mom”.

Day two came along and once again I heard country music coming from inside of my purse.  “Hey Mom!  Can you tell me how to set up my printer?”

Day three…”Hey Mom!  Rush starts next week.  What do you think I should wear?”

And so it goes.  He is now one month into his college life and I have heard from him just about every single day.  Every time I hear the first few notes of that country music song my heart double beats.

And even though I don’t get to see him every day like I used to, in a weird way I am getting more quality time with him with each phone call.  We are actually talking, not just saying hello like we used to when he’d come home and go straight upstairs.  He tells me about his day – new friends he’s made, funny things that have happened, and we just talk in general.  And I’m really happy with our new, mature communication even though I know the phone calls and text messages will slow down as he becomes more and more comfortable with living on his own.

The house is quiet without him and I’m the one who ended up homesick, but I am proud to say that I didn’t need all of those bottles of wine after all.

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It’s All Greek To Me

My college student has officially started rush week. My husband and I have both told him that this week will be one of the most fun parts of his college years. And for him, it’s only the beginning.

Even though it’s been well over 20 years ago, I can still smell the hazy cigarette smoke and stale spilled beer throughout the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house at Mississippi State University. I was lucky enough to be invited and initiated as a “Little Sister of Minerva”, or an SAE Little Sister.

I’m convinced that Kurt Cobain copied the grunge style from the SAE’s at Mississippi State. They were way ahead of their fashion time with their long stringy hair with the occasional mullet (hey – it was the 80’s!), and disintegrating t-shirts saying “You Can’t Spell State Without SAE!”

The house was probably one of the strangest on Fraternity Row. For some reason someone thought that a very plain, two story rectangular, red brick building would look better by adding a church-like addition (minus the steeple). Nestled in with the Southern Plantation, white columned style homes of Kappa Alpha, Pike, and Kappa Sig houses, the SAE house stood out like a sore thumb. Besides the fact that the house looked like an old gas station, an eclectic mix of sofas and chairs were usually strewn out in the front yard along with the previous night’s beer bottles and empty solo cups. Are you having visions of “Animal House” yet? If so, you’re right on track.

Dancing to a live band playing “Brown Eyed Girl”, or sitting on the roof watching the sun rise (and laughing at girls trying to sneak out of the frat house in the wee hours of the morning), or the Little Sister/Big Brother Wine & Cheese party, or dressing up as a 1920’s gangster’s widow during Paddy Murphy week. These are just slivers of my fun memories.

And now my son Matthew is going through rush. I don’t care what fraternity he chooses to pledge, I just want him to pick the one that fits his personality the best. And the most important thing I hope he gets from going through rush is realizing the lifelong friends he will make. Many of the friends on my Facebook page are my SAE big brothers…and I was just a little sister! The depth of lifelong brotherhood that he will be a part of upon joining a fraternity is immeasurable.

And although I know he’s going to have fun, I hope he realizes that there are some things he should and should not do. I won’t name names here, but holding a pizza guy hostage for more pizza probably isn’t the smartest thing to ever do, but keeping beer in the coke machine? That, my dear brothers, was BRILLIANT!!!

I made the fun photo above using StoryMark. For more information, visit http://www.storymarklife.com or download for free in the iPhone app store or Android Market.