Our middle son graduated from high school a year-and-a-half ago. He stayed home that fall, working and attending the local community college. By spring, he knew he needed to move on and out, so he moved to Tacoma to work while waiting to start school at a four-year university there this fall. It was time for him to try his wings and we were happy that he was finally ready. He lived on his own for five months and then moved into the dorms at school. I had known when school was starting, but I hadn’t realized that the dorms opened up a week in advance for incoming freshman and transfer students so I was surprised when he sent a text picture of his room and then called to say that he had moved in and met his roommate. He jokingly told me that he and his roommate were the only new students without parents helping them move in. I hadn’t even known he was planning to move then. He ended that conversation with a laugh, saying that he and his roommate had decided that it was probably better that their parents weren’t there since, were we there, they would probably just want us to leave. How well I remember helping our oldest son move into school the first time. I tried to help him unpack boxes and make his bed. He finally looked at me and said, “Mom, you can go now. I can do this myself.” Then, child number two comes along and I’m not even there when he moves to college for the first time. Let me just say, as an aside, that I would have been, had I known. However, I hadn’t known and I felt like a slacker mom.
That was almost two months ago. Since then, we’ve been up to see our son’s dorm and he’s been home a couple of times. He’s home this weekend and, when he arrived, he went out to the garage to look for something. He came back in carrying a zip-front sweatshirt that I didn’t recognize. He said to me in a somewhat-joking tone, “Mom, I know you’ve had a lot going on, but do you remember when I called after I was here last and said I’d left a sweatshirt that belonged to someone else and asked you to send it to me? And, I don’t want to make you feel bad, but do you remember how you said you’d send it and you’d include a care package for me?” Yikes! Somewhere in the depths of my brain little bells were going off. I vaguely remembered this conversation, but I also realized that, since I didn’t write myself a sticky note about it, the entire conversation went to the recesses of my mind, taken over undoubtedly by some other more immediate, read “local”, need. It’s true that life’s been a little busy around here lately, but added to that is the fact that this son moved out so easily. He was ready to go, he had his plan formulated before approaching us, he stays in touch, but I think he’s enjoyed his new freedoms and independence. It’s been easy to just let him be without too much worrying. That does not, however, excuse my error in forgetting to send his package. I would LOVE to send him a care package; that’s such a new-kid-at-school kind of thing to do. I hugged my son and apologized profusely. He just chuckled at me. I said, “I can’t believe I forgot about that! I’m just a slacker mom!” At that he gave me his million-dollar smile and said, quite sarcastically, “Yeah Mom, that’s what people think when they think of you – slacker mom.” One smile, one sweetly sarcastic sentence and this slacker mom felt loved and appreciated.