Friday, August 5, 2016

#1 on the college list

a can of febreeze. that's it. that's the single, only item purchased for our son heading off to college in just a couple of weeks. 

one. solitary. can. of. febreeze.

he came home with it from the grocery store last week --- proud, sure of himself and, i could tell, feeling quite accomplished. that college list thing? yep, he's all over it. he's on it. off and running that boy is.

that boy with his one can of febreeze.

and some of you begin to chuckle because you might remember my posts from the last two years when our daughter -- our first born -- headed to college. (click for emily's dorm room) you remember the crafty bedskirts, the homemade headboards and the chalk-painted dresser. maybe you remember the preparation, the attention to detail and the oodles of time and energy we poured into her new place. the design hoopla of dorm sweet dorm ... and then some.

and now child number two gets ready to leave. the son. the boy-man. the outdoorsy-kinda-guy. the one who would be happy with nothing more than his eno, his hyrdoflask and a big bag of beef jerky. (oh, and the febreeze. yes, let's not forget that).

last week when he brought home his air freshener, i just had to ask. i asked him why he made that his first (and only) purchase. i mean, come on people, let's get real here: we all know the list for college supplies is long. maybe it doesn't include homemade headboards for the guys dorm, but there are still some things this son of mine is going to need living in a state separate from his parents.

his answer regarding the febreeze: "well, mama, i don't really know. it just seemed a good place to start and i'm pretty sure we'll need it."

how self-aware, i thought. good for him. he might not seem ready, but, perhaps with his easy-going-it-will-all-work-out attitude, he, actually, is.

you know i've pushed him a little on this topic. feigning nonchalance, i've casually asked if he and his roommate have discussed things like who is bringing the sofa, the microwave, the mini-fridge or the x-box. i realize we aren't going to whip up a design sample-board or even come close to determining a coordinating color scheme, but still ... there are things. my mind goes to the nittiest grittiest things like toilet brushes and shower mats and laundry hampers. i mean, how can it not? i'm a mother. i've been running a household for over 25 years.

when asked if his roommate, kevin, and he have talked about any of these things, he rolls his eyes and comes back with, "oh mom, we're good. we're just gonna pick up things as we need them."

(and, you, who know me, laugh. again).

let's be perfectly clear here: my son knows exactly what he's doing. oh yes he does. he's been around his mama for almost 19 years and he knows he is driving me plumb crazy. he knows my home (or dorm) decorating fingers are flat out itching to pick out a comforter and some throw pillows.

he rolls his eyes.
he smirks.
shrugs his shoulders and chuckles under his breath.

because he knows me.

but, what's more: i know him. 

i know i can't pin this kid up against the wall in target and demand he select a shower caddy and a foam mattress pad cover. it won't work that way. i've been his mother far too long. and this boy who sees himself as a bit of a survivalist (living, mind you, in suburban atlanta) is heading off to college soon --- but in his way and on his terms. and if it means sleeping in his eno and gnawing on a stick of beef jerky, then so be it. at this point, after almost two decades, the boy has shown his true colors. and though i'm pretty sure his future places of abode may have nothing to do with color schemes or design detail, i also have the beautiful knowledge that God spared nothing when he designed my boy. He made him exactly like this: simple, easy and definitely not one bit worried about what his freshman dorm room will look like.

and i love him. just as he is.

it's true, there's a pretty good chance i might try to hang a picture or curtains in his dorm when he goes, but the real truth i need to hang on to is that my son (with his one blessed can of febreeze) knows exactly who he is and is, actually, pretty darn ready to do this college thing.

though college lists contain a whole lot of important stuff, i have yet to lay eyes on the list from samford university where tyler will attend. i don't know, maybe the very first item listed for the boys' dorm is, indeed, a can of febreeze. that's possible. in fact, quite believable. but, regardless of what any college has suggested, i know, for us parents letting go, the #1 thing we want on our kids' list is the confidence that they know who they are, and even more importantly, they know Whose they are. 

and there's always parents' weekend to hang those curtains ...