Right now I’m sporting a grin that I don’t think will fade any time soon. Yesterday, Mr. Wonderful and I went to LSU to retrieve The Trailblazer and all his smelly, college boy stuff, and accompany him home for the summer. As I write, he’s sprawled out on the couch, exhausted from the marathon of finals week, with the remote in one hand and the dog tucked under the other arm. It’s hard to believe that the year is over.
The feelings I’m having right now are very new, and I’m not sure I know what to do with them. What I want to do is stand in the street and brag to every passer-by about my incredible son. But that would probably run off a few friends, embarrass my son, and be in violation of my neighborhood association’s rules. (But it’s what I really want to do.) So since I’ve gathered up all these readers here, I’ll bore you for just a few minutes while I indulge this maternal need to talk about my boy.
I’ve lived this last year in a strange, new place. Anxiety and pride huddled side by side, competing for my emotional space. Worries about how he’d handle his new independence, whether or not he’d practice basic hygiene, and hoping most of all that he’d maintain the GPA necessary to keep his free-ride scholarships intact. My maternal pride wanted to boast to anyone who’d listen about his great accomplishments, but my anxiety kept me keenly aware that he was just one good fraternity party away from having it all go down the tubes.
It seems bad timing for college freshmen to be delivered to their new lifestyle at the beginning of football season. Any Tiger Fan will attest that Death Valley in the fall is an intense experience. So the vibes I was getting at the beginning of the year didn’t make me feel any better about the Big Three Worries I was having. But he made it through the first semester with good grades, no police record, and no injuries requiring stitches or hospitalization. His second semester schedule was pretty ambitious, but he carried the load beautifully (got even better grades than the first semester!) and ended the year more grown up than I could have imagined. My worries about him taking his future seriously were put to rest when he asked me and his dad recently if “we would mind” if he added a minor in Aerospace Engineering to his Mechanical Engineering major.
The only point I feel I need to continue fretting over is his standard of living. Perhaps I just don’t remember how skanky college life is (or maybe he’s just gross) but that boy’s dorm room was plain old nasty when we got there to move him out. As he’ll be in an apartment with 3 other guys next year, I’m hoping someone in the group will be able to exert a bit of influence over him, and reform the really bad habits he developed this year. But as I write these words, a great sense of relief rushes over me. Because if I had to be let down on one of my Big Three Worries, that’s the best one.
So for the next few days I’ll be strutting around like a Really Proud Mama. I’ll cook his favorite foods and fluff his pillows and be glad he’s under the same roof as us a while. When the newness wears off and he starts aggravating his brothers, I’m sure look at the calendar and figure out how many more weeks til he heads back. But for now, if you should bump into me, and I’m beaming, you’ll know why.