Plan For College

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Mother's Perspective II - Weathering the Storm


Weathering the Storm: The Best Laid Plans and all that….

If you’ll pardon the pun, there was an awful lot of upheaval on the East Coast this past week with earthquakes and a hurricane, not to mention all the parents preparing to launch their children off to college. Everything we’d been working toward all summer, let alone all year, started changing moment by moment.

For the most part the earthquake served as a wakeup call that things can change in a heartbeat, that the world is unpredictable. Understandably, even the most unflappable teenager would be a little shaken at that realization, and my daughter was already overcome with the emotions of leaving everything she knows behind. 

Then Irene started making headlines and everything shifted. My daughter received an email from the university alerting her that she could move in a day early, which was great, except we couldn’t leave a day early. We did, however, leave bright and early on the newly designated move in day, arriving mid afternoon and getting all of her things moved in to her new concrete room before rush hour began. This also necessitated adjustments in our expectations.

You see, her roommate had already moved her own things in and was completely unpacked and back at home for the day. So there was no mutual deciding of where things should go. There was simply the fait accompli of sides chosen, furniture arranged and so forth. Things we thought there should be room for, there just isn’t. As a mother, righteous indignation began to bubble forth, quickly stopped by my tired yet wise daughter. It will all work out, she reassured me. And of course she was right. The baskets we bought for the shelving unit which won’t fit because of choices she didn’t make will fit just fine on the closet shelves. The shelving unit will go back to Ikea (or to somewhere in my house where there isn’t room for it), just as we’d known it could, even if that wasn’t what we wanted. Or maybe I’ll stow it in her room at home so she can use it next year. Right now I don’t even want to think about her room at home. The tears are barely held at bay as it is.  And things will all work out – even though all of the welcome activities have been canceled or postponed.

Our next adventure of move in day was braving the hordes at the stores preparing for the hurricane to strike. For you see, that’s what’s next. Hovering over our entire move in experience was the decision of dropping her off and trying to drive 400+ miles up the coast towards home ahead of the hurricane, or wait things out in our hotel room going home in the aftermath. Flee the scene or remain calmly. Yeah, right now I’m not so calm. I don’t want to rush off leaving her behind, but I’ve got two more at home who are just as anxious. And whether they’ll admit it or not, they’re going to miss their big sister.

This whole experience hammered home the message that my first-born is now solidly on her own. She’ll have to weather the storm, literally, with assistance from as-now strangers. But she’s got a flashlight, some water, fun munchies, and playing cards. I have no doubt that she’ll do just fine. I just wish things had turned out a little differently.

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