Saturday, August 25, 2012

College Bound

A week ago today we all got in our 12 passenger van and headed to Knoxville, TN to drop Marshall off at UTKnoxville. He was so excited the weeks leading up to it and i was excited for him.  People would ask me "are you falling apart", "is is hard", what are you going to do" well, last year and in the beginning of summer, i would tell them "I'm not thinking about it, i have the whole summer with my son, so why bother" then as it got closer, it became more real and Marshall would bring it up.  He would say "sorry mom, but I'm so excited" i told him i know........then people would continue to ask the same questions and my new answer was "well, as it's getting closer and i am buying, preparing, and getting him ready it makes me tear up every time i talk about it" i swear at work it was daily.......but i was so happy for him and all.  the fact that he gets to go to college is wonderful for me.  so what he is 3 hours away, he is alive and i would rather that then the other option.  i am so blessed to be his mother.  to have gone thru all we went thru.  yes, i said i am blessed.  you can't ever take away what we all went thru as a family, parent, sibling or patient.  what we learned or gained thru all of his treatments has gotten us here right now.  I appreciate him and my kids more. I cry when i hear that these young children are given 3 months to 2 years to live.  i cry when i hear of a child that has died and gone to Heaven.  I cry for the parents that have lost one of the most precious gifts they have ever received. i cry for the siblings that have an open hole in their heart that their sibling left when they died. look, i don't want to get all depressing and I'm not.  i don't cry all the time.......i tear up....LOL.  let's get this straight.......i am not a "baller" i never do...okay, i had a few break downs when we were dealing with Marshall.  I admit that. I can't let myself loose control and i try to look at the good and positive.  Like leaving my Marshall in Knoxville.  ugh!

The drive there was the longest.  It seemed longer than going to the beach, which i would have preferred.  i think it was long for everyone in the car.  thankfully we have great friends with 4 kids that now live there.  so, i asked them this summer if they would want 8 visitors for the night.  she was more than welcoming.  you know when you have friends that you don't see all the time, more time than actually seeing them but when you get together it's like no time has passed.  you pick up where you left off?  well, they are one of those people.  we don't have to impress each other, we relax, laugh ( a lot) and share some drinks, forget the kids are outside playing at 11 pm (well, i did)  even the kids do the same.  they just all pick up where they left off.

anyway, we get there and drop off Catherine, Elizabeth, Sean and Aidan at their house and we take Patrick and Colin to help us move Marshall in.  So, my heart starts to beat a little faster and harder as i look ahead at the interstate and try to figure out what is UTK gonna look like, where is it, is it busy? I'm so glad i wasn't driving and poor Brian probably wished he wasn't either with me and Marshall being back seat drivers (go this way) well, i wanted to go that way but ok.....well,'s where i didn't want to go....well, turn off and go back.........this is a one can't turn left says no U-Turn.....can we park in the fraternity parking says permit the meeting they said you won't get towed......why don't we park on the side of the road....we can't fit in's too far of a walk.........why did the cop let him go straight but he made us turn..........oh, look....there's a Father Ryan sticker.....where's the's over there...i think it's over the it's right behind those buildings......why are the inner roads all closed down.........i can't believe he thinks he's going to cut in when all these people have been sitting in a line to turn....nope they are not letting him in......just park here......there is no yellow paint or anything.....many of these conversations or statements had tension in them...let me tell you.  Brian was short temperwise on the drive over.  so....

we park, then we get the things out of the car.....i had to take my purse...really...huge thing...Brian wanted to make two runs and i was saying one...Marshall was telling us to calm down it's  i said leave the two detergents and coat and we can give those to him this makes Brian carry a rubbermaid that is long but not too tall (under the bed) and it has stuff in it but it's light......i try to help to get a bad out of it and he makes me put it in....i swear just to prove a point....he's mad.....he has to carry that which is ok but slightly awkward and the top which looks like it's going to snap in half....i tell him to give me the top bc all i am carrying is two bags which are ok but as you walk it gets heavier and heavier.  Marshall takes the 7x12 roll of carpet which he kept saying was "lite"  Colin had some things and Patrick had Marshall's roller suitcase.  Marshall kept grunting and huffing and was getting heavier and i take the roller suitcase and Patrick helps Marshall with the carpet.  they are at each end....brilliant idea Bridget...i take the suitcase and look ahead and there are like 20 steps......really,, i just drag, pull it up each eloquently (NOT) we are sweating, dripping, and getting tired....i look ahead and i see more steps, and grass...hmmmmmm i take the grass and weave my way back to the others.....get directions and wind our way thru the people, wagons, furniture, and stuff EVERYWHERE.  we find Reese (his dorm) and he signs in and the boys go up to the 5th floor (stairs mind you) and i stay down bc they can't take everything.  Marshall as so done with the carpet.....poor guy.  i waited and people watched forever it seemed.  i had to keep my laugh to myself when i would see students, parents and siblings come in dripping, huffing and puffing and clueless....i guess that's what we looked like.

eventually, Patrick and Colin come down (they got lost?) and we take up the remaining stuff.  hmmm, smelly stairs..all the sweat and's thick the air is you can cut it.  lines and lines of people and stuff your trying not to get poked with.  you want to keep your eyes and body parts.  people dropping stuff running into walls and railings....not seeing the things in front of them.....just get me out of here.  so, i make it to the hall....hmmmm is all i can stinks too i just want fresh air.....they take me to Marshall's room...and they are trying to roll out the carpet so i am outside with the fridge, microwave and sitting there.  Marshall's fellow classmate comes from across the hall and introduces himself and asks what they are doing and i tell him.  i look at the hall and i see wooden bedframes, futons, dressers......really?  you can't even breathe in your dorm let alone all that.  finally they get it all rolled out and of course the door won't open unless you hold the carpet down.  oh well.  we are unpacking, his roommate is not there yet which is good.  there was five of us and that was a lot for the room.  i made the bed for Marshall (he asked me the week before if i would make his bed when he moved in...with his huge smile) he didn't have a lot so it was fairly easy.  i as a mother go and check out the shower and toilet (i just couldn't live like that....just couldn't) he is in a suite where 4 people share a toilet and shower.  so there are two rooms with two people in each.  it's better than the 'down the hall stalls'.  the shower is huge..the toilet...clean but eeewwwww.  i just couldn't!

Marshall forgot his flip flops (of course).  i need to get him a rug for the shower, but i don't know if one of the other mother's got one.  i need to ask. he will probably say they don't need it.  he didn't even want an umbrella....he's a man he said......he was so 'basic' in the getting of stuff it wasn't that much fun.  it was fun being with him that Tuesday.  i treasured that time i had with him, but he just didn't care as much as a girl would on colors, designs...etc.  i knew it would be that way...cheaper let me tell you, but i would have gobbled up anything my mom was offering to buy for me....heck, who knows you might need or want it.

we got him all unpacked and i was worried about the car.  hoping it wasn't towed away...but didn't want to leave Marshall.  i asked him again if he wanted to spend the night with us...and nope...ok, i hug him and tell him i will see him tomorrow.  he was just ready to get his barrings and have some fun.  i don't blame him.  we  went back to our friends house and proceeded to have a great night....took my mind off of Marshall which was good.  the next day, we said our thank yous and goodbyes...and went to Mass on campus and met up with Marshall.  Man, they would not let you stand in the back.  i was waiting for Brian and just trying to take it all in......and they were like there are chairs over there, here, and back there....go sit....I'm like, i have 9 people I'm trying to sit and just let me think for a bit...then another person did the same....and so Marshall had walked in and poked me in the back to push me to move bc they were now getting on him.  so of course we are in the front side....and a mother and child move to the center of the room just so we could sit in front and behind each other.   Mass was interesting...Marshall later on was like "i don't know what to think of the Mass" i told him i was curious what it was going to be like and it was a little better than i was expecting but yes, it's different.  After Mass, Marshall asked if we could take him out to eat bc his meal plan wasn't starting til tomorrow.  we all went to Applebee's and had a great time.  i soaking in every minute and second with Marshall.  not wanting to leave him here......he has to be with me know...?  we finish, go to Walmart to pick up a few things. and then go to his dorm....can't we walk slower?  can't time freeze for awhile?  i don't want to leave him.  we go up to his dorm and the kids all get to see what it looks like.  we see his roommate, and again the guy from across the hall comes over.  we are sitting and standing...i get my two tissues ready and close by.  i am not wanting to say goodbye....i am not.  but we need to go.  he has to workout before some freshman thing at 5.  so everyone says goodbye......i hug him and tell him i love him and tear up......but didn't shed.  again another round of goodbyes and i have to hug him again....i teared up but didn't shed!  oh, you mean i have to walk out of here?  i don't want to.  i have to leave him?  what am i gonna do?  we walk out and are taking it all in.  we get in the car and it already has changed.  it's different without him.  we drive home and i miss him.  i think of him the whole drive back...i miss him.  we get home and just eat leftovers. i miss him.  it's quiet.  yes, he wasn't home that much but you still knew he was here and coming home.  i seem to be waiting for him to come thru that door at night and tell me about his day/night and that he's home.  i am waiting for him to tell us that he's going to go downstairs for a bit and then go to bed.  i am waiting to ask him what his plans are for tomorrow.  i am waiting for him to tell me what he needs to get and if he can get a few shirts or shorts.  i am waiting for him to ask me if there is a load in the washer bc he needs to wash some clothes.  i am waiting for him to get him a glass of his sweet tea.  i am waiting to hear his laugh and stories at dinner.  i am waiting for that big smile that i love so much.  i am waiting for him to call me "mommy"  he does that now......LOL he has his own way of saying it.  i am waiting to hug him and he wraps his arms around me and bends his head down bc i am that short now to him.  i am waiting to tell him i love him so much.  i am waiting for him to tell me he loves me, i am waiting to see him in his Nike's with his black long socks pulled up to his mid calf, i am waiting to smell him when he comes down freshly showered and leaves....the smell he leaves behind him.

my mom said it so perfect that when i left the air was heavy and still.  she is so right.  even though we still have 6 kids here, it's different without him.  there is a hole in the family.  i know it's apart of life and growing up.  i know i missed my family when i left for trivium and all, but never thought about my parents side.  she always gets so excited when those of us are gone come home for a visit.  and gives us these big, hard hugs....i get it now.  you live for your kids and enjoy their company.  they make what your family is.  each has a position and together you make a family.  when one is gone the dynamics change.  it's out of balance.  but you get your groove and just adjust to the change.  i can't wait to see Marshall in October!  it will be bittersweet.  We get to see him but he also has scans....ugh!

i just can't believe that i have a child in college.  i have a mini adult in one of my children.  now, Catherine is on her way.  she is driving now, today is her first day of work.  she is growing up.  now, i am looking at these children....these pain in the necks sometimes....these precious souls and they are all going to become like me one day.  they are going to leave and either get married or a religious vocation.  they will have their own family and all.  the cycle just keeps going and going.

i am so happy for him and sad for me and all of us.  we miss him dearly.  i pray Our Lord watches over him. the Blessed Mother protects him.  All the angels and saints watch over and protect him.  It's up to him now.  he is on his own and has to make his own decisions.  you pray you raised him well enough with a strong faith.     as a parent it's natural to worry.  GREAT!

To Marshall and the rest of his life God Willing!!!!!