The days between August 14 and 29 were bittersweet and intense mothering days for me: first, there was Tayta's surgery, and one week post-op, we were taking our third child, Artist Son, to college. Though it hasn't been easy, Dear Husband and I have made the effort to take each of our children to college. For each child this transition has meant moving to a "foreign" country and being left in a new place after which Dear Husband and I, and any remaining siblings have returned to Jordan many miles away.
Dear Husband deftly handled the transition of both of our sons to college: He helped Active Son move into his dorm room at Boise State, while assisting Artist Son as he packed for college and passed his driving test. Arriving two days before me, Dear husband and Artist Son picked me up at Logan airport in Boston; I was coming from Chicago, where I had left Tayta, one week post-op, with Oldest Daughter.
Artist Son in at the harbor in Gloucester
This was my first trip to New England, and although it was brief and limited to Gordon College and the surrounding area, I enjoyed taking in its distinctions from western United States geography and culture:
Dear Husband, good as he is with direction, was wise to pay for the GPS feature on our rental car as the roads followed a windy, haphazard, old-wagon-trail path. And, as a local informed us, "It seems we don't like road signs".
We could drive for five minutes and be in the next town. There were so many small towns clustered together, we often didn't know what town we were in or passing through.
Where is Starbucks? All we could find was Dunkin' Doughnuts after Dunkin' Doughnuts. Old Boston made up for the lack: there was a Starbucks on every block.
If you eat out, of course, order the seafood. In Gloucester the locals prefer The Causeway. We waited an hour and a half for a table, the waiting area being the parking lot where we enjoyed colorful conversation with some locals.
Artist Son's dorm, Drew Hall: Its situation makes up for its modesty.
The trail goes past a swimming hole...
After the ceremony, we said our good-byes, and that is when those bittersweet tears flowed. They were expected and so, not resented. How grateful we were to be leaving Artist Son to begin his academic journey away from home in such a fine place and amidst such caring faculty and staff. And oh, how we would miss him! We were thankful, too, that God allowed us to accompany Artist Son this far on his journey, and to spend even a short amount of time with him at the place where he will spend his next four years.
Leaving Boston, I flew back to Chicago to an unexpected mothering blessings: moving Oldest Daughter into her first apartment.
Back story: One of the things I have worried about. living so far from our college-age children as we do, is not being available to them at important junctures in their adult lives.When I first learned that Oldest Daughter would be moving to Chicago during the summer in preparation for starting graduate studies in the fall, I longed to make a trip from Boise to Chicago so that I could help her. She had no car, no furniture, little money, and no place to land, as her apartment wouldn't be available when she arrived. But with the restrictions of finances, not to mention Tayta's surgery, Artist Son's departure for college, and our impending return to Jordan, I saw no way.
First, God provided a furnished condo, via a Boise friend, for Oldest Daughter (and Tayta, and then me) to stay in while she waited to move into her apartment, and it was located just a couple miles from her new apartment. When I returned to Chicago for a one night stay before heading back to Madison for Tayta's second post-op appointment, Oldest Daughter informed me that she was packed up and ready to move. We took two rental-car loads over that night, and completed the job in two car loads the next day--we even managed to move her mattress, so she had, at least, a place to sleep. Wait. I was there! God had allowed me to help Oldest Daughter move into her first apartment!
The moving crew
(we let Tayta carry only the light things)
The living room: I think there may be a couple pieces of furniture in there by now.
As long as I am a mother I suppose my feelings about my children will always be tinged with bittersweetness, but as each of them moves a bit farther from the nest, the sweetness begins to overwhelm the bitterness, or at least mingles with it in such a way as to bring delight--most of the time. Such is a mother's life.