Last week, we moved Benjamin, our youngest, into the dorm. He’s our fourth to go to college, but there was a lot I’d forgotten.
My husband Murray forgot that boys take a lot less with them to school than girls. After we finished loading the car, he said, “That wasn’t so bad.”
When Rebecca was a freshman, she stayed up the whole night before packing. Murray has awful memories of transporting all her stuff, in multiple trips, from the car, across a field, to get to the dorm.
This time, when Murray and Benjamin went inside the dorm to check in, they came back to the car with a large cardboard box on wheels to load stuff in. My, the world is becoming so technological.
Waiting in the car, I heard other students talking as they moved in.
“I didn’t know you were going to be an R.A.” “You look so pretty.” “You always look so nice.” “I need to check on my scholarship. Something’s messed up.” “Yeah, I heard that’s happening with a lot of people’s scholarships.” “I’m so glad you’re going to the pool party.”
And another girl said, “Guys, my mom just parallel parked.”
Wait a minute. Girls?
I’m going to be brave and share my embarrassment. For a brief time, I was thinking, “Why are the girls here? Where’s their dorm?”
The student in the room next to Benjamin’s is a young lady.
Speaking to my other kids who just graduated two or three years ago, I was reminded that’s normal now.
I told Benjamin, “When I was in college, the guys and girls were in separate buildings.” “That was a long time ago,” he said.
Benjamin’s room is on the eighteenth floor. I told him he should use the stairs for exercise.
“Sure,” he said. “And if I invite you to visit, you can come up the stairs with me.”
I told him I had an apartment once on the fourteenth floor, and I sometimes used the stairs. Murray said he once worked on the seventh floor and often used the stairs, to save time waiting for the elevator.
Benjamin said, “Yeah, and I used to live on the ninth floor and had to go upstairs both ways.”
It seems an awfully small room for two guys. We checked out the laundry room, and, one change from when our son Caleb lived in that dorm—the washers and dryers are free. They used to be coin operated though, and when Murray rattled the change receiver, he got a quarter.
Benjamin chose the first bed, which sink and towel rack he wanted. “The privilege of the first to arrive,” Murray said.
But, since his roommate will always have to cross Benjamin’s side of the room to get to his, we reminded Benjamin not to leave his cane stretched out across the floor. “Just assume most roommates probably won’t like that,” Murray said.
We didn’t remember to bring a shower curtain or trash can. Later, Benjamin told me his roommate did bring them. “He said his mom thought of everything.”
We have three braillewriters at our house, one for each of us who use braille. I asked Benjamin if he wanted to take one to the dorm with him, and he said no.
Of course not. He has an IPhone and a refreshable braille display to hook up to his computer. I think I’m going to buy him a slate and stylus for his birthday.
I found myself struggling between wanting him to show everybody how capable he is as a blind person, and also hoping that people will be willing to be helpful.
I’m feeling kind of anxious; a little sad. Will Benjamin and his roommate get along okay? Will he figure out how to take care of everything? Will he make friends? I’m going to miss him.
I have no doubt that this whole thing will be much easier for Benjamin than for me.
Mothers never change that much, I guess.