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My eighteen-year-old son. Jeffrey, is soon leaving home to begin his freshman year of college. He is my third child of four, the second to move out, but the first to move away, as my twin daughters attend college in town. My life is currently consumed with getting the boy where he needs to be and with him, every single thing he might need. His school is in upstate New York and we are from Oklahoma. In my packing journey, I find myself trying to guess at things from the degree ratings of coats (it’s hot in OK! We know NOTHING of this) or the best boots that slip on (so he might actually wear them), to what the heck kind of pills I should send with him in case he gets sick. From the best sheets for him to snuggle/study/eat/live in, to what slides will keep him safe from the inevitable SHOWER FULL OF ATHLETES FOOT. Yuck.

And this is all for him, but also, it’s for ME. I aspire to be like both Hermione and Mary Poppins, just without the magic, and that requires a lot of thought and (frustratingly) a lot of STUFF. I feel a little sorry for the kid. His Santa hat and red velvet tie are neatly rolled together in a bundle, along with his Christmas sweater, and placed into a cute little organizing cube. If seen by others, that can’t possibly be read as manly. And he’ll likely never find it. It’ll get covered up with sheet music and dirty towels and socks or empty pizza boxes and it MIGHT be for naught. But. I’ll know that he HAS it and I can feel good about washing my hands of the responsibility while maintaining my standing as the Master Packer.

*I LOVE to pack.
I love to put all the things in their place…. and then I love to rework all the things and their places over and over again until they’re either perfect, or I drive myself crazy, whichever comes first. 
OCD is a bitch.
I hate it, but I own it. 
But I digress…

My husband isn’t thrilled that I’m doing all this FOR my son. He thinks that children should exit the womb knowing how to tie their shoes (and how to pack for college, I guess). Trust the boy. He can do it himself. I fully agree with him, and MY GOD I love him and appreciate our differences but….




The boy can pack for himself his sophomore year. I feel like this is my last real opportunity to mother my buddy and make him feel loved and READY. To me, it’s a pleasure to try and predict every eventuality of his new life and think on it:



And, OF COURSE, I’ve asked the boy for his consideration on all the things, but he’s a hard one to pin down and we’re on a schedule here. Thus, I continue in my collecting. Curating. Pruning.

So. In a month, he will roll his eyes, and shrug to his roommate about his beautifully organized socks, but undoubtedly, he will think of the Momma who organized them. And maybe I’ll get a call asking me why he has toilet cleaner when there’s a janitorial staff, but I’ll also get to hear about his classes, what he had for lunch, his thoughts on whatever meme is new and completely inappropriate, and I’ll snag a beautiful, tiny piece of him that’ll hold me until he discovers his coffee stirrers.

There IS method in the madness.

I’m sure gonna miss that boy.

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