As many of you know, our daughter Molly started her college career at Chapman University near Anaheim last fall. All went really well, she was thriving with her group of new friends and challenging course work. So well that she was actually looking forward to a mandatory “Inter-Term” class that she had to take in between semesters. It sucked for us, as it meant that she had to head back to her dorm on January 2nd, instad of at the end of January when the Spring semester starts. Hey, nobody said becoming a doctor was going to be easy. But they could have at least let us know it was going to be creepy!
So Molly gets on a plane and heads back to her dorm room. She gets in about 6pm and immediatly it feels weird. Can’t quite put a finger on it but something is off….waaaaiiiittttt a minute….where the hell is everyone??? She was literally one of about 5 kids in her building. Not on her floor, IN HER WHOLE BUILDING! Every little noise was startling, if not terrifying. As a middle aged adult, it would have made me nervous. I mean sure, we all joke about how awesome it would be to close out the world and just get some alone time. But even for a confident, strong young woman, it was super creepy and nerve racking.
We had several conversations and Molly agreed to try it for a couple days to see if it got any more comfortable. We told her we would happily fly her back home and help her figure out how to take it online or make it up down the road. She was adamant that she had to stay and take the course and online wasn’t an option (Isn’t that the ONE thing that covid has given us??? The ability to do anything online…you can imagine how hard it was for me to NOT call the university and ask to speak to a manager….but I digress). So, after a late night “I need you Momma” call, and without any hesitation (literally woke me up at 4:30am so I could help her pack) Laura threw some clothes in a bag, packed up her laptop and second screen, and headed down the long hill to SoCal.
Not to bring her home, but to spend the month living with Molly in her dorm room. That’s right, momma was going back to school. Once she got there and settled, I couldn’t decide if this was going to be more like her starring as Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School or me and Andres starring in Home Alone. It was a little weird, a little uncomfortable, and a LOT challenging as she quickly realized how limiting living in the dorm is with almost no campus services open (imagine your meals are limited to food you can fit into a fridge the size of your produce drawer and your only cooking option is a microwave) and having to remember that she wasn’t really allowed to be there in the first place. Although, I would have hated to be the RA that tried to tell her she had to leave.
Here is the other thing that made it challenging. Laura and I have been married for 24 years as of NYE. In the past 25 years, we have not been apart more than 4 consecutive nights. It never occured to me to think about this until about night 3. It turns out I’m a big ‘ol selfish, high maintenence, man-baby. I always figured I started adulting at a fairly young age, didn’t turn 18 until my 2nd quarter of colege, and lived happily on my own for several years BL (before Laura or before love, take your pick). I could easily handle a few days without my wife. However, it turns out I am way out of practice. And I suck at it.
It’s not that I am incapable of doing all the things that have to be done to maintain a household. It’s that I have split those duties with my partner for a loooooong time. A couple days, no problem. But why, all of a sudden, do I have to constantly run the washer and dryer? And when did choosing dinner become an EVERY SINGLE DAY albatross around my neck? Wait a minute… this was supposed to be a story about the incredible love and sacrafice a mother has for her daughter. Sorry, let me get back on track….
Molly and her new roomie Laura settled into a nice routine. We are super blessed that Laura’s bosses let her work remotely, and she was able to work during the day while Molly was either in class or at work. They got to spend a lot of time doing mother/daughter stuff, lots of beach time and a trip to the San Diego Zoo, and a LOT of watching Friends and Gilmore Girls. Those are the fun things, but there really was a lot less “free time” than you would think. They both flew home to visit us for Presidents Day weekend, and it was like taking the first breath of air in a long time to have them home again. Laura went back for another week, and by the end of that there were kids coming back from winter break and things at Chapman were progressing beck to whatever normal was.
I want to reitterate that we are very aware of how lucky we are to be able to do that. And I know that Molly is super grateful that Laura showed up on that Thursday. But the next time that happens, make no mistake about it. I will immediatley be moving in with my mom. Super Sally will be put to the test as I am apparently no good at being on my own anymore. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!