Of course it was a hot August day when I moved my oldest child to college. To make it even more enticing his room was on one of the top floors and the elevator was in constant use by others. I had plenty of time to think as we went up and down the fire escape carrying his belongings.
As the day progressed I was flooded with memories of when I moved to college. I recalled that I could not wait for my parents to go home so I could talk on the phone as long as I wanted! I started to wonder if my son was wishing for me to disappear and wondered what was the one thing that he couldn’t wait to do once I was gone.
As we got his dorm room setup I began to ponder how I could return to my college days where the stress was much different than “adult” stress. I also recalled how much fun college was, forgetting the stress of a full course load and two jobs. You know, hindsight.
As I watched Nicholas put his belongings away I began to envy him. But I knew my role was to get him settled and give the “talk” about what to do and not do while at college. I started to formulate a small lecture in my mind. It was about on the tip of my tongue when I realized he would probably promptly escort me out of his room and I would never hear from him again.
So I began to refocus on what I should say and I realized that it was his time to be a young adult. I am not foolish enough to think that he would not get into trouble, skip class, not study enough and heaven forbid socialize. Yet I felt an obligation as his mother to impart some wisdom and let him know that I would be there regardless of what happened.
He sensed the lecture coming and as I looked up at him the pressure for saying the right words was crushing. I started to talk and he promptly said, “Mom, I know what the Church taught me, I know how you and Dad raised me, I know what is wrong and what is right, but I will probably do things you don’t want me to and I will have to pay the consequences.” I was breathless. When did my first-born baby become a young man and decide that he could and would take charge of his life?
As I settled back in at a home with one child missing I realized that he did not take a crucifix or Bible with him. I wondered if I should quickly take those to him but then I remembered that he knew his faith, the power of decision-making and the love of family. The four years flew by and I watched him struggle and soar all at the same time. I had many conversations with God about my son and his well-being. But I knew in my heart that God loved him, too, and that was good enough for me.
(Diane Thierer, Former Director of Religious Education, Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Parish)