by Caren Crane
Before anyone gets concerned, this blog is not about me going anywhere. No, this is about something that is happening all over the country. It started last week and will continue for several weeks to come. This is about a bunch of parents - me and my husband included - packing their cars, vans and SUVs full of junk and hauling it all to universities near and far. This is about the stuff of dreams and all-too-much drama: college move-in day.
On Friday, we had the dubious pleasure of moving our middle child and older daughter to college. She happens to be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (yes, I own one of these buttons - Go Tarheels!), but I'm sure our experience was fairly common. We followed a series of signs along a convoluted route to get in a line to be assigned a parking area where we were allotted a generous 45 minutes to "unload".
Now, we have an ancient Plymouth Voyager SE minivan - the extra long kind. We took out the back bench seat and were able to load the 10-foot-long roll of carpet into it. It fit perfectly, as if designed for just such duty. I have a feeling those minivan engineers had packed more than one kid off to college! In addition to the carpet, we had a dorm fridge, saucer chair, all manner of clothes, shoes, bedding, books, hangers, toiletries, laptop, etc. I don't recall my son having nearly as much stuff, but guys have different priorities. I recall lots of angst over routers, ethernet connections and gaming systems when he went to college.
We managed to get the van unloaded and everything carted to the 9th floor (yes, the 9th of 10 floors) in the furthest dorm from the main campus. The RAs and residence hall staff were all great. They arranged it so only half the kids were moving into the dorm on Friday and the other half Saturday. It seemed - on Friday - to http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifbe working fairly seamlessly. (For fun, click on this time lapse movie of move-in to my daughter's dorm - it's #4, Hinton James. It looks like it was taken last year, when there was a big storm moving through, and I have to say there were LOTS more cars there this year.)
I was fine while we dropped the daughter off. She was more than ready for us to leave by the time we left. My husband and I were both rather down and depressed Friday night. It didn't help that the youngest - who will be a high school senior this year - spent the night with a friend and was gone all day Saturday at a church event. We got a real taste of the empty nest. I had to call my mother on Saturday and whine a bit. She understood exactly what I was whining about.
On Saturday, I had to go back to the university to deliver the second load. This load was everything that she had forgotten on Friday. By late Saturday afternoon, when I arrived with said second load, things were winding down and there wasn't an RA in sight. The parents who had driven down from places like New York and Minnesota looked dazed by the heat, humidity and lack of air conditioning in the elevators. But hey, at least they have A/C units in all the rooms now. They just finished air conditioning the last of the dorms LAST YEAR, if you can believe it. As balmy as it was in my daughter's suite on the 9th floor, at least there was a window unit chugging away. Again, my daughter was more than ready for me to be gone when I left.
Meanwhile, one my friends reported that when her son went to drop his daughter off at college on Friday, she cried and begged to be taken home. It took all his powers of persuasion to get his daughter to tearfully agree to stay and give it a try. While I was a bit disappointed that our daughter didn't even pretend she would miss us, I was really glad that she didn't cry and beg to be taken home. I'm not sure I could have steeled myself to leave her there if she had. Kindergarten was bad enough!
Do you have a college move-in day experience to share? Yours or your kids or someone you know? I recall my own being fairly calm, like my daughter's. Did you beg your parents to take you home - or did your kids beg you to take them home? I'll bet there are as many stories as their are kids. Do share! Meanwhile, I'll be waiting to see if more urgent phone calls come in for more urgently-needed "stuff". I'll also be planning how to get it all moved out at the end of the semester! ; )