While enduring Donny’s complete absence from our home, with the added torture of no communication–amplified by the knowledge that he’s on the other side of the world serving in India– I consoled myself todayby finalizing his dorm room decor. I needed to take care of him somehow, so this is how it manifested. I’ve come to believe that ceasing to mother my children will only happen when I breathe my last gasp of earthly air. I hope they know what they are in for if I live to a hundred.
I should also confess that I started the process of stocking his dorm life way back at the beginning of his senior year. It was a positive way for me to manage the impending doom of his departure. I bought a trunk and began to fill it with a lot of stuff, like room freshener and laundry detergent. It was a fun game to think up what he’d really need, or would be happy to have. No extras though. He’s a simple guy. The process of collecting the stuff that would represent his independence did help me through the emotions of letting him go. I have a solid peace about it- but peace doesn’t entail a happiness, only a calm acceptance.
It’s comical to me now to see all the items I searched for deep and wide now in the stores at the most prominent display point. I even got a catalog from Pottery Barn about dorm decorating. How did they know I had a kid going to college. ( Don’t tell me, I’d rather be naieve about big brother.) I’m not a last minute girl. I like to plan way ahead so the important items, like bedding, have long been stored away. The bed is a sensitive subject for me. It’s got to feel like home so if I splurged at all on his dorm decor, it was on the quality of his bedding material, not the decorations for the room. Believe me, he will know. I’m talking a two inch therapeutic memory foam mattress pad, high count cotton sheets, a well constructed down comforter and an ultra soft duvet cover, with two memory foam pillows.
Today the extra fun items found their way from Target to the storage room where it all awaits the big move in appointment at Baylor. It was fun I have to say. I chose a very sober and manly area rug (and pad so they don’t slip and hurt themselves: see! always a mom!), and two padded microsuede folding chairs that are actually quite comfortable. The trunk that’s been stashing all the stuff this year will be a great ottomon or table for the drinks and food. I also got a plastic stack of drawers that will no doubt hold groceries, what else would two guys need more of than food?
I haven’t bought a single thing for his walls. I know that’s what he’s going to enjoy choosing and care about looking at. The rest is comfort I am happy to offer that he would otherwise shrug and probably do without. I do know my limits. And I didn’t choose a theme or colors that would indicate “oh no my mother did this!” It’s entirely understated and dull- nothing at all like how I view my son, but decorating must not demand any attention. I get it.
It helped me feel better to imagine him lying on the rug propped up on his elbows studying with his feet banging behind him. I know when he goes to sleep at night it will feel like home, not some cheap hotel. Now that the assemply of stuff is over how will I cope with all my nervous energy surrounding his departure? You’ll tease me but I’ll tell you anyway, I’m planning fun and interesting care packages we can send from everyone in the family once in a while. I suppose when I get used to him being on his own they will taper off to the regular email and phone calls. He loves me enough to know it’s all as much for me as it is for him, and he’ll indulge me as long as I don’t smother him. I understand the boundary.
… there’s an update about their adventure in India: www.gobeyondblog.com