Thursday, December 12, 2013

Catching Up: Our First Trip to Visit Him at College

When I sent him off to college, there was a small shard of fear wedged into this mama's heart. My boy has had a rough couple of years, and while he's in a much better place now, he's been here for me to keep an eye on. To be able to monitor for signs that things are starting to slide backwards and we need to take steps to get them headed in the right direction again. The idea of him being so far away, with no one who knew where he's been and what demons he fights, kept me up a few long nights over the last weeks of summer break. Would he ask for help if he needed it? Would anyone notice if he started to withdraw and fall back into the darkness? Would his meds keep working the way that he needed them too, and would he remember to take them every day?

Talking to him, just through FaceBook messenger during those first weeks made me feel a little bit better, but not much. He said he was doing fine, things were going well and he really liked school. Comments he made to questions others asked confirmed this same sentiment, but there is that screen between reality and the written word. My worried mind wondered, "Is he really, or is he just typing that so I don't worry?" Several Google Hang-out chats and phone calls eased my mind a little more, as he sounded happy, and he was meeting people and getting involved in things. My boy, who likes nothing more than to hole up in his space and have no one bother him, was out there interacting with the world.

At the end of October we had the opportunity to go visit him at school. Of course, I jumped at it. He was less then thrilled. The idea of "family weekend" was dumb and he didn't think we should bother coming. I told him that I had already booked our room, and we were coming at least this year. I needed to see with my own eyes that he was doing OK. That things really were going well and he wasn't just saying so. My mama instincts would hone right in on if anything was wrong with just one look and within less then 10 minutes. So one weekend around mid-late October, we drove up to his campus on a Friday.
We met him after his last class let go, and after some visiting and good natured poking fun at his sister, who was on crutches for being klutzy, we went for a long walk in the local cemetery, then out for dinner.

My boy was good, I could tell right away. He has found a group of like-minded friends who share a lot of his same interests. He has found a hang-out, with this same group of friends, in the Open-Source Lab. He has taken part in activities, he volunteered at the fall open house for the college, the list goes on and on. The weekend that we were there, the next day, when we had to leave early instead of staying and participating in the days events due to a band show Ash had to march in, he was scheduled to be competing in a computer coding competition between the two local colleges. l left, with a smile in my heart. Nothing will ever replace that small shard of fear that will always worry about him, but I feel much better about him being six hours away from home, out from under my watchful eye.

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