No matter how much we plan ahead at our house, it seems those plans always change. I choke back some frustration, let the rest of it torture the eardrums of my family in heated words, and tell myself to stay flexible.
We packed our Grand Voyager van with plastic totes full of Josie’s clothes, bedding, clerical materials, a few books and CD’s, three lightweight lamps, and a couple small
cases of toiletry items – not a lot to move into a college dorm. Her roommate Molly’s dad had already secured a micro-fridge, which was supposed to be working in their room when they arrived.
Against Mark’s first instincts, we got a parking permit for Josie’s Escort in the stadium parking lot a good distance from the Kent State campus. The proximity thing may have helped smooth out this decision. Though we didn’t want the girls to come home too often, it would be nice for them to bring home their laundry occasionally (especially if there was a lot of bedding), and nice for us not to have to pick them up.
Jo and I set off in the Escort with plans to arrive on campus about an hour before move-in time; just enough time to go to the campus bookstore. Mark and Kathie took the van with plans to travel first to the Circuit City in Brooklyn, Ohio, and pick up her computer, which was not in stock at our local store.
The books we thought she needed mostly amounted to three, fat $100 plus volumes, so we drove around the campus. Since Brooklyn is almost in Cleveland, I expected the van to be back late for move-in time. When we finally made it to the stadium lot where I thought we’d agreed to meet, we got a call that Kathie and Mark had been at the dorm waiting for us.
They said they had been trying to call us – sure enough: Jo’s phone showed three missed calls; my phone showed one. How had we missed them? The phones had been with us all the time with ringers on. Had Bruce Springsteen really been blasting that loud from the car stereo?
By the time we got to the dorm, everything was already unloaded. We made up the top bunk for Jo while she talked to her floor counselor and got her room keys. We checked out the shared bath for her floor – right next door to their room: a row of shower stalls, one tub with shower, and a row of toilet stalls across from a row of sinks.
Josie plugged in her new laptop and made sure her dad had all the receipts and rebate forms. I noticed the view from their dorm window; three substantial trees presided over the small grassy courtyard below. It pleased me; the girls probably wouldn’t care, but I decided all that was missing was a bird feeder. “Oh, Mom!”
We took a few pictures in front of the trees while Molly looked down at us from the room; then, “Goodbye, good luck!” One of my girls is moved out.
Here comes that flexibility part – and a lump in my throat. Asking for seating for three at the restaurant on the way home flagged a new meaning. Meals will be different; without our fussy daughter, we’ll probably eat better.
How about the highlight of the day? Well, for the little sister who’ll take over the house, it was buying an Army jacket at the Army-Navy surplus store in Ravenna. Who would think this could bring out that same look Marilyn Monroe had when she was wrapped in mink? I’m glad times change.
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