It is such a privilege for the Parent Programs office to be able to share in the lives of our students and their families. We are fortunate to come to know some Wake Forest families via phone conversations or email exchanges we’ve had when they have questions or concerns. Other families we have met in person. Still others we’ve come to know through things like their participation in our Facebook page. We welcome you all.
And even though your students are not our own children, we cheer when they graduate, we worry when you tell us they have the flu and you wish you could be here to help them, we rejoice when they succeed academically or win a coveted leadership position. And we all get a little misty eyed when you drop them off for school and you feel the pang of letting them go. Most of us have kids too, and we can relate.
One of our Daily Deac readers has invited us into her world, sharing an essay that she wrote about her student’s looming departure for college. This parent writes beautifully about hopes and dreams and letting go. I think this might strike a chord with a lot of our families, and she has given me permission to share it. I hope you like it as much as I do.
My Son’s Bed
I don’t know why there is such significance for me in making my son’s bed, but there is. For me, it seems to mark the passing of time. Sort of like the pencil marks one makes on the kitchen door frame that are dated with changing heights. You can go back in time when you remember each bed and all the memories of that time come alive.
Mothers, in particular will relate to this idea. We, after all, were the ones who went to the store and mulled over the bed selections, trying to decide which bed would be best for our baby. Then came the bedding. Which style best described our family, and what we wanted for our baby? Would it be bright with animals, or tranquil and soft? I thought of jungles and animals and little boys and their imaginations. The first two stuffed animals I bought for him were jungle cats, a cheetah being his favorite. Amidst all the baby gifts, though, one little bunny emerged as his very favorite, and since Bun-Bun only lived in the crib, going to bed at night was never a problem for us. Our son could hardly wait until he could cuddle with his friend in his soft snuggly bed.
Time moved on and the crib was replaced. A big boy bed was in order and I, of course, thought about the bedding. That first night was special. My husband and I listened to our son’s prayers and watched as he lay down and announced that the bed was very comfy. Bun-Bun seemed to like it too, so another stage began. These were years filled with themed sheets. Action characters, jungle animals, crazy colors. Sometimes, I would see some sheets at the store that I knew he would like, and I would get them on the bed before he came home. At bedtime he would be so surprised when he turned back his covers. I could hardly wait to see his face on those nights.
Then, there was the summer camp bed. That is a different sort of thing all together, because you are making a bed that will hold your child for weeks without your being there. You wonder what they will be thinking about when they fall asleep at night. Will they be happy? Was it the best day of their life? Did someone hurt their feelings and you weren’t there to help them? That bed always got a secret prayer from me. My hand on the pillow, a brief moment, and then I would hear a “hurry up” from my boy and I knew it was time to let go.
Time does march on and a new stage had come for us. Boarding school. We loved the school, as it was the school that my husband and his father both attended. I imagined my husband and his father being young boys there. I wondered about their thoughts and what events guided them towards the men they became. I imagined them going to sleep at night and wondering what they thought about in those last sleepy moments. Once again, as you might imagine, there was that bedding thing for me. The summer before school began for my son, I began shopping and spending time making sure that while my baby was away, he would have this one soft spot that gave him comfort. So, as we moved our son into his room (which was the exact same room my husband had lived in years ago), I said my prayer again, and those years ticked by.
Now that college has become a reality for our son and for our family, I am, once again, concerning myself with the bedding. Where will my boy sleep and will he be comfortable? As silly as it seems, I will spend an inordinate amount of time fretting over the types of pillows to buy. He will roll his eyes and I will understand. He is his own person now, and my pulling at him will only make things more difficult. He wants to be independent, but I already know that he is just that. If making his bed lets me imagine that I have installed a little angel to watch over him, well, then maybe that will be OK.
— by K. (P ’16)
Categories: campus life