As you can tell, he wasn’t overly broken up about it.
Love the fact that he picked that particular shirt to wear…not sure if that was just a coincidence or not…
The “grand” part of sending a child off to college (that I promised to get to today) is that man, it is fun to watch that excitement sparkle in your child’s eyes.
….Although I’m pretty sure I didn’t have the same look in my eyes that he did when I first checked in to Boston University all those years ago.
The look in my eyes probably terrified my mother. I was pretty much scared to death.
But Max was pleased as punch to be there which made the whole drop-off pretty exciting. It was honestly just like a three day party.
The first night we were in Salt Lake where we met up with my parents for dinner.
And took in the beautiful views downtown.
When Max claimed that his back “needed” a little rub that night before bed I jumped at the chance for a little more chatting before bed. He spilled out so many feelings and questions and observations late into the night.
Now, anyone who knows Max knows that he’s not a huge talker so that little snippet of time was like a little gift that his mother will cherish for a long time.
The next morning we left bright and early for Provo and the big check-in orientation.
Oh my word. There were a LOT of kids there all checking into their different groups for orientation.
I don’t know if they do that at different colleges…they sure didn’t do it back at Boston University back in the day when I was a freshman, but maybe that’s just BU as opposed to BYU.
Max was so excited to get moved into his room that he couldn’t bring himself to do much with all the orientation festivities that morning, but we did talk him into coming to the “opening ceremonies” with us for a little bit.
Check out that sea of freshmen with their parents:
Then we were ready to move that kid in.
His roommate and his Dad were there to greet us, full of excitement as well.
And then the across-the-hall neighbors who happen to be old friends came for a visit too.
Max wasn’t the only one who got to be reunited with old friends. BYU kind of makes for a small world sometimes and a few of my BYU roommates from long, long ago have sons who are up there and some other great friends I haven’t seen forever were checking in their kids too.
We met up with some friends from our Virginia days and one of my best college girlfriends:
They were checking in their daughters. Kory’s daughter was gone to the orientation stuff at this point but here are Lynna and her cute Abbie:
(love the tippy-toes 🙂
We took these boys to lunch…
…and met up with these great women from my mother’s group (here) and their cute checking-in-freshmen daughters for dinner.
I sent that pic to the other mothers from that group we were missing and one commented back that you can see the sadness in the mom’s eyes and the excitement in the kids.
I think she’s dead-on.
That night Dave and I headed to Target to gather some things Max needed for his dorm room and ran into Dave’s last missionary companion and his wife.
Honestly, it is a small world.
We stood there and talked to them for an hour…I loved meeting them getting to listen in on some great mission stories.
We got to catch some of the big pep rally thing that night with all the incoming freshmen where they introduced a whole slew of sports teams and the marching band and cheerleaders, etc.
The only time I teared up on this whole trip was when that huge sea of kids all dressed in blue stood and sang “Rise and Shout” at the top of their lungs.
They took an “incoming freshmen” picture that makes me even more in awe about how many kids there are in the same position Max is (I think nearly 4,000), all with bright eyes and high hopes for the coming year.
Can you spot Max in there?
We ran into Max following all the hoopla in the stadium and he looked like he was kind of missing us a bunch, poor kid. Ha!
The next morning we came back to the dorm room with our Target supplies and helped finish off the big “move-in,” which wasn’t really “big” at all compared to all the girls moving in with all the bells and whistles.
I’m kind of thinking this is the cleanest his closet will ever look though…
Here he is in all his glory.
He’s saving that big spot on the wall for a map or flag or something from his mission when he gets his call.
I tried to get him to let me help arrange things like all his pictures we printed out, etc., but this is as far as we got before he was ready to take off again for whatever was next on the agenda, assuring that “he’s got this.”
So Dave and I utilized some time to visit our cute niece who is also starting as a freshman up there (at UVU).
Sure love that Allie. She is settling in so nicely into her new environment too.
That night another new freshman from our church congregation here in the desert who plays soccer for the BYU team up there reserved some tickets for us so we could go to the game that night.
She and her sister both play and boy that team is very impressive.
The temperature was perfect with the golden rays filtering through and we helped hit an all-time record for the amount of spectators there.
Max helped in the spectator category too…he was somewhere in that huge crowd of cheering students.
I finally got to seize the opportunity to hike up to the “Y” on the mountain by BYU and dragged Dave along with me…except he had to pretty much drag me because that thing was steep I tell you!
But the view was pretty spectacular.
This is at the very tippy-top of that “Y.”
And here’s looking up from the bottom.
We learned so much history about that thing.
Stuff like how they built it over a hundred years ago, how they used to light it up on special occasions with little lanterns (now they do it with a generator three or four times a year), how they carried up all the cement, how the original plan was to write all three BYU letters but somehow they decided just “Y” was enough (more history stuff on that over here).
Fun to try to pick out where Max’s dorm was from clear up there, our old apartment, the library, our old favorite hang-outs.
See the side profile we were leaving behind as we walked back down? That sucker is 380 feet high and 130 feet wide.
After our hike we got showered up and headed over to our special spot:
That’s where we got engaged over 20 years ago.
It was just as gorgeous as ever.
We met up with our friends who used to live in the desert with us and since moved away to Utah.
…and also met up with my sister and her kids who happened to be in the same bike race, but didn’t get a good picture, dang it!
So, you may ask, where was the star of this post while we were off on our great long date?
Oh just soaking up his new life with a big huge smile stretched across his face.
Dave has been joking that it was kind of like “catch and release” with fishing. We unhooked that kid of ours and set him free into a giant ocean…and he couldn’t have been happier.
My wise friend Sarah once told me that “college is not a prize to be won, but a fit to be made” and she was so right.
This decision and move sure seem to fit him like a glove.
As we headed out of town we went to drop off one last thing to him in his dorm and said goodbye amidst a few friends. No tears, no drama, just a whole lotta love…and an inside vow I would be back to visit before too long…I think that’s what held the tears back:)
(Maybe Dave chose that shirt on purpose just like maybe Max did on the first day???)
And it was all grand…
…until we got home and I caught a glimpse of his empty room and it was like I was imploding with darkness all over again.
Things will never be quite the same again. And although I know that’s ok and good and the proper progression and all that jazz, I’m pretty sure there will always be a gaping hole in my heart missing him.
A few months ago, in anticipation of this big step my mom and dad both sent me this poem on separate occasions. And it is pretty beautiful so I want to share it here too:
It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day —
A sunny day with leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled — since I watched you play
Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away
Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be.
That hesitant figure, eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About nature’s give-and-take — the small, the scorching
Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.
I have had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show —
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go.
–Cecil Day-Lewis (circa 1962)
I’ll always be sad it came so dang quickly, but I do believe whole-heartedly in those last two lines.
The part of me that is hollow and raw yearning for the laughter, little spats, hugs and doors slamming of ALL of us under one roof is accompanied by another part filled with wonder at how much he’s grown even in two days, and excitement to watch this son of mine spread his wings and fly.
Now to get ready to do all this over again with Elle in a year….