After 7 years of hard work, my oldest got a phone call last week that rocked his world. He's taken the scenic route through college, and had been working his way back to a respectable GPA. The person on the line said he had been re-accepted into MSU, and was invited to begin summer classes. You didn't have to ask him twice! He was going back to Starkville! (you can now begin singing, "Going back to Cali" using Starkville and "yes I think so" in the chorus. It's been in my head for 6 days.)
He began the admissions process, registered, had endless conversations with financial aid, and made it happen. In one week. ONE WEEK! This also meant that I had to pack him up and get him there to begin classes in that same amount of time. Talk about stress. He worked full time right up until moving day, so I plunged into momma mode and began washing, folding, sorting, and making endless lists. Walmart and Dollar Tree became my best friends. His dad made a quick trip to find a place for him to lay his head. My sis baked his favorite cookies and we ate our last fully attended dinner at Gaga's for awhile. By the grace of God it all fell into place. I didn't relax until I was on Highway 82 headed west.
There was no time to get emotional about the move - we'd done this before, right? Nope. Totally wrong. I'd had seven extra years of seeing him almost everyday. Laughing with him. Having our momma/son talks. The blessing I received from his previous mistake was more time with my son, and not everyone gets that. We'd hugged our way through weddings, births, and deaths in that time. Life, and all that comes with it, strengthened our bond in so many ways because we were under the same roof. Sure - we would've had phone calls or face times, but that's not the same as cheering on a cousin giving birth during covid from a hospital parking lot, or holding each other as you sob over a friend's death. Some things just can't be done over a phone.
We got him settled in his new home and spent the next day driving around Starkvegas looking at all that had changed since the last time he'd been a resident. We ate lunch at one of his favorite restaurants. We discussed job opportunities and balancing that with school. We ooo'd and aaah'd over the new baseball field, and mourned the loss of the Left Field Lounge as we'd known it. We drove to the lake in his new neighborhood and decided a fishing license was in order. He shared that this time was going to be different. I agreed. Although the scenario was familiar, it felt different this time. Not as scary. More confident.
I didn't lose it until the drive home, but it didn't last long. Just a few tears because I knew I'd miss his, "Hey Ma!", as he walked in the door after work. His big ole bear hugs when he told me good night. His hilarious sarcasm and jokes (usually at my expense) and the belly laughs that would follow. Hearing he and his brother talking and laughing together on the patio or upstairs. The little, everyday things are what I will miss most. This momma is hurting just a bit, but is so stinkin' proud of her oldest for not giving up.
Googleicious informed me that only 13% of students who fail out of college go back in the following 5 years, and only half of those graduate. My son is a shining example of the 13% who keep trying, no matter how long it takes and what you have to do to achieve your dream. I'm confident that he will have a degree from MSU hanging on his wall one day, and quite the story to share about how he earned it.
If your child takes a "non traditional" path, do not fret! Success comes in different forms. Keep encouraging them. Don't give up on them. Allow them to dig themselves out and show you what they can do instead of focusing on what they didn't do. Cry, scream, even cuss if you need to; just know that they are not a failure. Surrender the results to God Almighty and try to enjoy the journey! Share your story in the comments if you like - we all need a little support from time to time.
Here are some pics from our "Campus Drive: Second Time Around". Can I get a "Hallelujah"?