Colin moved into his house last week – a rental just a block from the OBU campus. It’s a small two bedroom built in 1934 and it’s great condition thanks to the owner, who lived it in it for over ten years with his wife and two daughters. He’s babied the place, which is fortunate because it gives Colin and his roommate a standard to keep. The boys looked at rental houses for a couple of weeks and learned the difference between a landlord who cares about the house and one who doesn’t. The smell is the first clue. So this house is a keeper, which is why he signed a one year lease agreement. But the house is not really the story.
Twenty-one years ago last May, two babies were born at St. John Hospital in Tulsa four days apart. One baby had been life-flighted to Tulsa before birth, and he weighed in at just a little over one pound. The other baby was two days early and weighed in at ten pounds (22 inches long!) That one was mine. Those two babies met each other nineteen years later at OBU’s Welcome Week. Their parents became good friends too, since both of their fathers worked at OBU. So now, the ten pounder and the one pounder are living in the same house. They are both about six feet tall, healthy, and ready to cut the apron strings. Both of their mothers have resigned themselves to this. I felt morose the day I moved Colin’s things out of his room. Since he was moving into his own house, the only thing he left was his bed…with no bedding. A bare mattress on a Cargo bed stared at me every time I walked up the stairs, so I kept reminding myself of the glee with which he left. It’s not that he was unhappy living here. It’s that he is 21 years old and ready to try life on his own. He’s not completely ready for that yet, evidenced by the fact that when I went to visit him five days later his clothes were still in the bin he had packed them in, but there were posters on the wall. Something about this seems backward, but I keep reminding myself that when you start cutting apron strings, they don’t tie back together very well. He listened politely to my suggestions for setting up house, but he knew I was leaving in a matter of hours and that the clothes would be just fine in the bin. No one was going to nag him to put them in the drawers.
As I drove away that night, I thought about the baby in St. John Hospital. Not mine, but the tiny one pound baby that now sleeps in the bedroom down the hall from Colin. It’s hard to let your children go, whether they came into the world with ease or with great difficulty. Colin went home from the hospital in a day. Dane stayed for five months. As mothers, we raise our children the best we know how, then feel guilty for not doing better. We let them go with trepidation, but realize that it would be worse if they didn’t want to leave. Colin and Dane moved out of their childhood homes ready to take on the world and with the self-confidence that they can do it – at least as far as college life goes. They have come a long way since that week in May. Welcome home, boys.