The question at the dinner table was asked with nonchalance, but rest assured, Dear Reader, every word was cautiously calculated.
My 15 year old son asked, “Soooooo? What are we going to do with Alissa’s room next year when she goes to college?”
Never mind, at that point and time, our family dinner conversation didn’t have a thing to do with his sister leaving home this coming August and attending college.
Keeping a somewhat straight face I inquired, “What did you have in mind, Cam?”
He wasted no time unveiling his carefully crafted plan. “I thought we could just cut a hole in the wall behind my Scottish flag to make a second entrance to Alissa’s room. Then . . . you know.”
I laughed. “So you could have two rooms? A suite of some sort? A holding area for some of your stuff?”
“Yeah!” He was thankful his most-of-the-time dull mother had actually caught his vision so quickly.
His dull, forty-seven year old mother then delivered some incredulous news. “Cam, just because your sister is going away to college next year doesn’t mean she’s not coming home. She will come home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, spring break, Easter, and summers. And she might just come home a few other times during the year, too. Her room will remain her room until she moves out for good. You are not to be in there because it will still be her room.”
In typical teenage male fashion, he responded with a plethora of words. “Oh.”
The soon-to-be sixteen year old is almost to his perceived Promised Land. The bathroom will soon be his, solely his! His sister takes forever in the bathroom, and now his morning and evening routines can go strictly the way he wants them to go.
The lateral shower drain (we had to totally remodel the bathroom after the wreck) will no longer clog up with long, brown hair.
We will leave at our scheduled departure times. Three people in this house are always ready on time. One person is the wild card. And please don’t feel terribly sorry for her; it was that way b-e-f-o-r-e paralysis.
And, so once again, I see proof that the same situation can be viewed in so many different ways.
My older child goes to college next year.
My younger child views it as an opportunity to expand and establish his territory. My older child (the one leaving) views it as an exciting challenge and adventure, certain this is the next step in helping her be a successful adult, despite her paralysis. And as her mother, I rejoice with her at the excitement and goodness of it all, but it’s just hard to imagine our home and my life without my favorite girl in the whole world constantly chatting with me and flashing her enormous smile.
Living independently at college is exactly what I raised her to do even though nothing about it looks like I ever thought it would.
The next part of the journey, in many ways, will be similar to the previous legs of the journey. There will be goodness and grace, hardship and heartache. There will be fun and forgiveness, laughter and love. Yes, the tightrope of life can always be counted on for one constant: it is constantly changing.
But I can guarantee one thing there won’t be next fall. There won’t be a big hole in the wall and a two-room suite for the teenage boy who will still reside in this establishment!
Unit next Wednesday, Lord willing, when I share the tweet of all tweets that took me down. (And that’s saying a lot these days!)