What a great trip this has been!
I'm afraid I've misrepresented myself in some way and before I continue I want to say that in NO way was I ever putting my needs before my excitement, enthusiasm and pure delight for Taylor. I was only wanting to be honest about my feelings about my baby leaving home for these incredibly new and wonderful beginnings to his tomorrows. I am, was and always have been thrilled for him and even more delighted in the fact he chose to attend a university that has meant so much to our family. Not just my family but his father's family as well. You see, we have MANY generations represented at Longwood dating back to 1897. His father's family began their representation at Longwood in the 1950's when his grandfather became a professor at Longwood and later the chairman of the Science Department.
So, not only is Taylor taking his first steps forward, but he's doing it in one of the most wonderful places ever as far as I'm concerned!
That being said, here goes; our trip to Longwood.
On Tuesday Taylor and his dad got the Durango (Rob's) and my car loaded. Rob brought us breakfast, but we were way too excited to eat. Even Dalton was having trouble eating anything.
We got on the road about 10:30 with Taylor riding with Rob and Dalton, a television and our overnight things in the actual passenger area of my car with me. Between a coke and a television in the front seat of my car and a tire that was nearly flat that morning. I was treating my car with some kid gloves. Having checked all the fluids (yes I can and do this regularly myself) added air to my tire, topped off my gas tank, we were finally on the way.
Rob taught me a new way around the city so I can actually get to Daddy's without paying tolls and getting stuck in Richmond traffic. It will make for a much easier trip next time I go! The trip was relatively uneventful except for my growing excitement over the events that were to transpire in just a few short hours.
When we got to Longwood, our first order of business was to find parking (which wasn't so bad considering). We then proceeded to the financial aid office to finish up our business there. Then on to check in at the Student Union and pick up his student id. We laughed a bit over his photo, having been a bad hair day that day then walked back to his dorm. He's on the third floor so the general rule of "Heat rises, cold falls) was more than evident.
Now, neither Rob nor I are small people and with my physical limitations and the heat, they advised me to take something like, go to the room and stay there while they unloaded. (I was happy to oblige!)
We got to his room, his RA, Claire, introduced herself, gave us a few brief instructions about work orders, how to fill out his room report and Taylor began to size up his room.
I began unpacking per his instructions (he was being a bit of a pill really but I chalked it up to testosterone, excitement and raw nerves). By this time it was about 1:30 and poor Dalton was starving. I took him to McD's (which by the way is amazingly superior to the McD's that stood on the same site when I was attending Longwood) for a bite. When we got back to the school, Rob was leaving to go to his parents for a bit after having helped Taylor rearrange furniture while I was out. The new furniture at Longwood is really nice, solid wood furniture and heavy as all get out. He was beat and needed some air conditioning for sure. Since the Student Union wasn't officially open, his parent's house was a good option.
Taylor and Dalton and I then proceeded across campus to the Barlow building (which was an auxiliary gym when I was there) to the registrar's office. We turned in his class transcript from TNCC which transferred 3 credits and got him out of a business class he'd have to take (he got IC3 certified in high school which will help toward his IT minor should he pursue that).
Then back to his room so he could get his materials for his first work meeting.
The difference in his personality from when we got there to now was pretty amazing. He became my boy again. He was sweet, funny and, like I thought he would, he gave me a lingering hug good bye as we smiled and said our I Love You's. (yes, I got "I love you mommy." out of my sweet boy)
Dalton and I then proceeded to the new Campus Bookstore (A Barnes and Noble) and picked up a few fun things including a new Longwood Cup for T. He already had his notebooks and his books were going to be picked up by his dad that evening (I'd ordered them on line already). He had a new t-shirt we got in June and there really wasn't much to get there since they (he and his dad) were going to go to WalMart after dinner.
While we were there, he called and said the other parents were there at the meeting w/ their kids. I asked him did he want me to come back and at first he said yes, then said, "Nah... I'm good." I decided then I should go back to campus and wait for his meeting to be through to get a picture of him next to his new "home" with his brother. My camera had gotten so hot during the day, the batteries just wouldn't work. I had gotten new batteries at the book store so I could at least get some campus photos not expecting T to be available too! What a bonus!
We actually caught him coming back from his meeting and got a photo of him and Dalton together. He talked to me a little while longer and told me he'd miss me. We said we'd write bunches and he hugged me hard and long again.
Just as I thought I'd get emotional, the heavens erupted as though to help me and all the other first time moms with their tears. The skies opened up the winds whipped up clouds of dirt and tiny pebbles where they'd been working on a flower bed at the end of the street and we all got to shield our eyes and our emotional goodbyes with scurries in all directions to escape the impending soaking. We waved at each other, signed I LOVE YOU and went in all directions.
This also allowed us to escape driving away while he stood in the street watching and waving which, I'm certain, also saved our (all of us) emotions.
Taylor and Dalton in front of South Cunningham Dorm on "Move In Day"
He's so ready for this and I'm so proud of him. He's done well, gotten himself some fantastic grants to allow him to study at a great university. It's going to be a great year. He even reassured me that now that "Miss Thang" (his words) was in his life, there would be a lot less partying going on and a lot more studying so he could do well and come home more often. He has no Friday classes so he's hoping to get home more often than he would otherwise.
I can't say Dalton and I both didn't have a few tears. I can't say I haven't had a few since then. But I can say, and as I look at this photo it's more than obvious to me, I saw my son standing a little taller, I saw him looking a little more mature. I saw a young man in his face that was a little bit older than the young man I helped deliver to Longwood University at 10am Tuesday morning. I left a different person at Longwood at 5pm on Tuesday afternoon. Different indeed.