We hadn’t seen our oldest son since Christmas so a month ago Donny and I determined to find a weekend where the whole family could visit him on campus, meet his friends, go to his church and of course supply his refrigerator. He ran a half marathon in the morning and met us for lunch. It’s an amazing sight to see four growing active boys eat in the middle of the day. A whole buffet of food can disappear in ten minutes and they look at each other’s plates to see if there are any scraps they can take. Then they go order more food! Donny was eager to take us to his favorite campus restaurants, and Craig and I looked at each other as we were both thinking, “The Brown Jug”. That was the dive only students could love back at UofM back when we were students, and even now. Craig even worked there cleaning tables til three in the morning. When the clubs closed the next stop was the Brown Jug for pizza or breakfast. College was fun and to see our own son deeply immersed in his college adventure is satisfying at a level I rarely touch. Instead of clubs he takes mission trips. There’s some more deep satisfaction. And I’ll share with you the one thing I’ll remember about Donny being in college. He only asked for money once, and it was to help a friend be able to go on the mission trip. He had earned half of his friend’s way, but couldn’t get the rest in time. I think I want to be more like him.
Every where we went he encountered students that were his friends and he was eager to introduce his parents to them. It is so interesting to see him about half way through college, fully immersed, deeply rooted in community, thriving, growing closer to God, and happy. He’s doing much better than I did when I was where he is. And isn’t that what we hope for our kids? To do it better than we did?
Of course we had to ask the Parental questions that make him look away, twitch, and shuffle his feet. “Have you thought about what you are going to do after college? Job or graduate school?” Let’s just say he is thinking about it and he doesn’t have an answer yet. That’s fair.
What’s funny is that with the extra hour we had before meeting his friends for dinner to make it in time for the Hunger Games movie is he wanted to go to Target. He needed laundry soap, deodorant, a plunger, hand soap, shampoo, and socks. So all seven of the LaTorre’s took up the whole aisle on a Saturday afternoon in Waco following Donny around as he happily filled the cart with things he didn’t want to use his few dollars to purchase. That’s why we offered and he pounced.
I had a slight stroke of genius when I put playdoh in the cart for dinner entertainment. I was thinking it would help distract Kira from melting down since it was a day without a nap, but the playdoh actually entertained everyone at the table! We rolled out snakes, flattened pancakes, poked holes with forks, and we all inhaled it deeply to return to our own childhoods where playdoh sprouted from platic heads like spaghetti and we called it hair.
We all competed for Donny’s attention. I tried and fell behind, Jack had a good run, but in the end Kira won. We weren’t surprised. She took his hand and pulled him around, she didn’t take her eye of him and when he went beyond her reach she called out persistently, “Donny, Donny, Donny”. She’s flirty, and all the boys melt to her antics whether it is wearing a cute cheerleading outfit, or smiling bashfully or giving a coy sideways look from under her eyelashes. She doesn’t need to be taught how to wrap the five LaTorre men around her pinky finger…all at once. I stand back and I think, girls don’t have to be taught how to use what they are born with…allure…they just practice it a lot.
When we had to part ways I just felt like dripping big tears, and it is only because having all five of my children within my wingspan gives me a deep joy, and I want to keep it. It’s the feeling of holding a puppy and being desperate to take it home. It feels so right. It takes away the nagging sense that I walk around with every day that someone is missing, something isn’t complete. And why does it make me cry? Because Jordan is on his way, and then Kevin…and then…and then… in a snap.
So, I sighed heavily all the way home from Waco to San Antonio. Each time I did, Craig looked at me and said, ok, what was that one for, but he knew. The thoughts that made the sighs subsist were making plans for Easter when it will all happen again in our home. (For this photo kira was asleep in the car and we were ready to head home. I will get the photo of the five at Easter! before I feed them. There’s a tip for you moms.)