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  • corneliusmary

He Needs His Mama

Excitement and apprehension dominated us as we moved Blue Boy 100+ miles away, to the University of Arizona in Tucson. Would he, as an introvert, be comfortable on a campus of over 40,000 students? Nine years of living solo in a spacious bedroom was poor preparation for sharing a small room. With a stranger. With girls on the same floor. I pictured him bewildered in the sprawling campus, searching for his classes in a variety of buildings, hesitant to ask. The modest boy who often came downstairs to use the powder room rather than go into his bathroom with his brother, would now face strangers in the most intimate setting. Recalling my college angst, I feared that the standards at this highly rated university might be daunting even for this dedicated student.

That he searched out and joined an e-gaming community, taking part in tournaments and social events, surprised us. Much to our relief, he not only handled the coursework well but professed to enjoy it.

Blue Boy had spent only one short weekend at home since the middle of August, during which we saw him little as friends and gaming took up his time. Now he was home for two weeks for the winter (Christmas) holidays. Mowgli was exhibiting an unsteady surge in maturity this semester as he mastered his tech classes, motivating him to soar in his academics. Now we were to see the corner that Blue Boy was turning. No longer at the top of the totem pole as a high school senior, he was at the bottom as a university freshman, living in a community of adults and classmates aspiring to adulthood.

Blue Boy gave me a genuine hug when he returned for the 2023 Christmas holidays. Well, maybe he allowed me to hug him. There were family games almost daily. I observed him and his friends in conversation with our adult friends and family. The young college students I encountered over the break, reticent as high school students, were eager to converse with and participate in activities with the adults. They were growing up, becoming independent. It was almost frightening. Blue Boy’s excitement drew Mowgli in as well. Extended family members enjoyed watching the boys participating in activities with their cousins.

As the holidays came to a close, Blue Boy admitted to looking forward to returning to school and friends. Bags and boxes filled the front hall the night before his departure. I managed a cursory hug between the games, packing, dinner, and conversation, assured that I would be awake for his 8:30 am departure the next day.

The Monday morning of departure, from my bed I heard Mowgli leaving early for school, sent Mike off for hiking, and listened for the sounds of ED and Blue Boy preparing to vacate the house. Perplexed by the silence, I headed for the kitchen and was surprised to see the hallway clear. Disappointed at missing a proper goodbye, I promised myself to call him later in the morning. With the house to myself, I loaded the laundry, made my bed, dressed, and prepared a light breakfast. Dull noises overhead interrupted my meal. I checked that the washing machine was running smoothly, then assured myself that the house groaned while adapting to the heat pump that I had turned on earlier.

Returning to my bedroom, ED’s open door, closed earlier, caught my eye, and she was sitting inside. ‘Oh, I noticed everything had been packed so figured you had left.’

“Well, yes, but, unsurprisingly, Blue Boy wasn’t up. Hopefully we can leave by 9:30.”

A deep voice tinged with humor filled the stairway. “What do you mean, everything had been packed?”

Meeting Blue Boy at the bottom of the steps, I encountered an array of bags, boxes, and suitcases once again filling the hallway. How much stuff did this kid bring home? How much stuff does he own, anyway?

As we loaded the car, ED sent Blue Boy inside to fill his cooler bag.

“Do I need ice?”

“A cold pack will do.”

He zipped the bag closed and went out to put it in the car, leaving his water bottle on the counter. I stood guard, sure that he would forget the bottle, yet to be filled.

Blue Boy returned to the kitchen, with the cooler bag, ED having reminded him of the sauces he had purchased, still in the refrigerator, and milk in the mud room fridge. I continued guarding the water bottle.

Eventually the front hall cleared. As Blue Boy filled the water bottle I handed him, ED asked if he had his key. His hands fumbled as he reached for the pockets in his sweatpants. “These pockets are weird.”

ED looked him in the eyes: “Maybe because you have your pants on backward.”

After redressing, he paused for me to give him a proper hug and silent prayer for his good health and happiness.

Two hours later, the Life360 app assuring me that ED and Blue Boy had reached the dorm, I checked in with them. They were busy unpacking but were stymied because he had no hangers in his closet. “Do you know where my hangers are?” he asked his roommate.

“You took them home.”

“Oh, yeah.”

Blue Boy still needs his mama.



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1 Comment

Feb 27

How perfect! I feel I was there with the college boy :) Thanks Piff.

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