Home Is . . .

When we took Younger to Rolla to register for classes, he had to participate in math placement testing and parents had to be entertained in the interim. So, current students performed skits for the waiting parents, one of which suggested we not make any big changes in the house the first semester or so. The students still needed the safety and security of home being the same when they returned.

Which had me thinking back on a recent conversation with Elder . . .

“Since you will be staying in Columbia this summer,” I approached my oldest child carefully, “I think we may move Younger into the bathroom upstairs. You would have to share it on the weekends you are home.”

And Elder, who only visited once every three weeks or so the last two semesters, looked at me and sincerely pledged, “I plan to be home a lot this summer, Mom.”

Yeah, don’t make any significant changes the first semester.

Or the first year.

Or second or third . . .


Stop the Ride

Younger graduates next Thursday.

We finally received his graduation announcements Tuesday. So, I guess we have to decide if we will hand those out the day of the actual ceremony or save them for the party.

Missouri S & T expects Younger to prove he’s actually received his immunizations. But I can’t remember the name of the medical group we visited during his first year and apparently, only some physicians submit immunization records to the state database.

We received an email that Younger had to complete more forms and watch more videos for his summer job or his funding might be DELAYED. We have until tomorrow at noon. They sent the email yesterday. And he has finals this week.

I am grading essays from four college composition classes while preparing Blackboard for my summer classes. And I’m working a couple days a week at the local army installation.

Meanwhile, rain is in the forecast next Thursday. And, if it rains that Thursday night, we’ll get six tickets to somehow distribute between grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends. And three of the six tickets are for us — me, my husband, and Elder. I’m not good at math, but this does not appear to be adding up.

And I am realizing that I really can’t dig my heels into the ground and stop the world from spinning, so that next Thursday never comes.

Someone should have installed a set of brakes on this ride we call life.

This Is the Life

This summer, Younger will work a forty-hour-a-week job. So far he has asked:

“Do I have to talk to people?”

“Can I wear shorts?”

“But it’ll be hot, why would I want to wear jeans?” (He’ll be in an air-conditioned office.)

“I have to be there at what time? And for how long?”

This is the life he has been awaiting since kindergarten.

“College,” he corrects me when I remind him of that fact. “I’ve been waiting for college.”


Now, I have a few questions . . .

Not Even Close

For the last year or so, Younger has been serious in his search for scholarships. Today, as we were driving to school, he told me, “I found one, Mom.” He flashed his phone in my direction. “It has a 1500 to 2500 word essay. The topic — what should you do in a disaster?”

I glanced at him, raising my eyebrows in question.

He looked back at me, shrugging his shoulders in answer.

“I don’t know . . . Stand sideways and reduce your surface area?” he mused. “Probably should bend your knees a little.”

For those of you who are wondering . . .

That’s not even close to 1500 words.


One More Time

Today, I helped Elder carry boxes, baskets, and bags to his car. Then he wrapped his arms around me and pressed his cheek to the top of my head.

“I love you so much, Mom,” he told me.

“I love you so much, too,” I responded, patting his back.

Then I watched him climb into his car, surrounded by a significant portion of his material belongings. And I stood in the driveway until he and his car bounced onto the gravel road, heading towards another school year at Mizzou.

This parting thing — it doesn’t get any easier with practice.

Just sayin’.



Elder had spring break last week.

So, I was able to check on him every morning. I knew where he was every day. And every night, he appeared at my bedside, lowering his head so I could kiss his blond curls.

And sometimes he would wander about halfway across the bedroom to leave then return to lower his head for another kiss.

He has almost finished his sophomore year of college and will be twenty-one in July. So, a little part of me always wonders if the current break is the last break he will spend at home.

Saturday night, as I was putting dinner away, he hollered, “Mom, come watch M*A*S*H with us.”

And so I tucked the last plate into the dishwasher and wandered into the living room to plop onto the sofa. He promptly sprawled across my lap, sending our border collie into spasms as she had to witness him receiving snuggles she believes belong only to her.

Then, Sunday, he piled his laundry and books back in his car, and he left.

Because he has a life he has to live. A life full of joy and sorrows and beautiful moments.

Because little boys grow into young men.

And moms have to let them.



No Good Plan

Monday was Elder’s first day at his new job.

So, you can imagine the panic as, emerging from the shower, I heard the back door slam and Elder yell, “Mom! Mom! I need your car keys. My car won’t start. Mom!”

So, in my bathrobe, I rushed down the stairs, hurdling over the dogs on the landing to hit the next seven steps. “Here,” I told him, tossing him the keys.

“I have no guess what happened,” he muttered, walking towards the door.

“Well, I have a guess,” I told his back.

Because he has a habit of sitting in his car for half an hour after reaching home, listening to his radio with the dome light on. Then forgetting to turn the light off when he finally retreats into the house. And his dad has warned him and warned him.

But as he slipped through the door, I had bigger issues than an we-told-you-so moment. He was taking my car and leaving me with his dead battery. And I had a class in four hours.

Now, I happen to know that the instructor is an understanding, easygoing type.

Because I am actually the instructor.

Which makes it a little more important that I actually arrive at class.

Besides, I had plans. Big plans to finish grading essays and to prepare for class discussion. And the internet at the house was down. So, I had accomplished nothing.


And now I had no way to escape my house to accomplish something.


“Uhmmm,” I hedged in a phone call to my husband. “You need an excuse to leave work early?”

But apparently, we have a battery charger in our very own garage. So, I learned, in almost triple digit heat, how to charge a car battery.

My husband walked me through every step.



“You’ll need to find the extension cord on the shelves in the garage,” he told me. “And plug the extension cord into the outlet.”

And I would have been sarcastic but he quickly followed with, “The last thing you will do is plug the charger into the extension cord.”

I glanced down at the charger already humming in my hands. “Last thing, huh?”

“Yeah, because that will turn the charger on. You’ll hear it hum.”

“Hum, huh?” I murmured, unplugging the charger from the extension cord. “Interesting.”

But I managed to start the car without killing myself.

So, here is what I learned: don’t make plans.

Plans are just an invitation for life to mess with you.

I don’t need to offer no invitations.

I’ll just let life be rude and drop in on me.