Saturday, August 23, 2008

Andrew's off to Furman

I just have to say that having two sons twenty months apart is a huge blessing EXCEPT when they go off to college two years in a row. Last August it was Thomas. This year, it's Andrew. At the moment it feels like a "one-two punch" - not really fun. Yes, I am excited for my boys, proud of their accomplishments, thankful for the opportunities ahead, and so aware of God's grace in their lives. But oh my goodness, how I am going to miss them! I may be a puddle on the floor come Monday noon. We said good-bye to Andrew today and Monday morning, Thomas leaves again for Covenant. It's going to seem very quiet around here.

Friday morning we loaded up the van...

and posed for a picture with everyone who's still at home. My smile betrayed how I was really feeling. We'd had a sweet prayer time at breakfast but my fragile mother's emotions made my throat tight and my tears close. When it came my turn, I just had to glance over at Coty and shake my head "no, not right now." What a blessing, though to listen as the others offered prayers of thanksgiving and petition for this precious son, brother, and friend.

Once we got on the road, I was OK. We rolled onto the gorgeous Furman campus and found Andrew's dorm. The rest of the day was spent getting him moved in, taking care of freshman business like meeting his RA's, getting his student ID photo, taking his computer to get it configured to the campus network, and attending a session for parents on the transition to college. None of that felt very new since we've been through this three times before.

Andrew has a nice dorm room - lots of space, big closet, beautiful view.

Here's the view from his dorm window. He can see the north end of the lake and across the way, intramural fields, and the organic garden at the end of the Cliff's Cottage. The following pictures are a few sights from our afternoon walk around campus.

The fountains at the front entrance

The Furman belltower and lake.

Sitting by the lake outside the dining hall. It really is a lovely campus

We were happy to get to meet Andrew's roommate, Radoslav, who is from Bulgaria. I can't imagine a better roommate for an international student than Andrew. All of his experience living and traveling abroad and his interest in international affairs, geography, and other cultures make him a very understanding young man. And his compassionate heart and helpful spirit will I'm sure bless Radoslav as he gets used to college life in the US. Rado's arrival at Furman on Thursday was his very first time in the states.

On Saturday morning while Andrew was in a hall meeting, I got to spend a little more time visiting the gardens at Cliffs Cottage with my mom and dad (more on that in another post). In the afternoon, we attended the main welcoming program , made a run to the store for a few food items and other dorm necessities, and met Andrew's academic adviser.

Then, it was time to say good-bye. I wasn't looking forward to that...

Big hug...

and a big effort to smile! I really tried.

We're home now and it's still hard for me to believe that Andrew's really gone to college. Tomorrow morning I'll probably listen for him when I'm getting ready for church and have the same sinking feeling I did last year when I realized that Thomas wasn't here. It's hard to get used to the silence of a dear son gone off to college. But I will. By God's grace.

And by God's grace, Andrew will dive into life at Furman and thrive and grow and become more and more the man God intends him to be. I'm excited about that...or I will be when I get adjust to the smaller family size around the dinner table and the missing red cello case in the living room...


Jen said...

My children are small and I am already dreading this day!! My heart goes out to you!!! Our time at home with them is but a breath it seems and I already sense this even though our oldest is only 8!!
May our Lord and Saviour be your Great Comforter this day!

I found your blog when I did a little search on churches in Charlotte (I work for a Christian Speaker/Recording Artist who was looking for a filler-date concert in the area) - and loved your blog immediatly! Blessings on you and your family!!

Beth said...

Thanks for your kinds words, Jen. Yes, the time passes very quickly. It is even harder to believe that in about four years time all of our children will be grown and the nest may very well be empty. But I know that God will prepare my heart for that season as well.

Mary said...

Ugh! What a hard time of year for us moms! I just said farewell to Anna as she goes to IU for the next 3 years. And saying good-bye to far away grandchildren isn't fun either... But...God has a plan, and we have a continuing role in the prayer room! Back to work, Mom!

Jen Unsell said...

Wow Beth! I have tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat from reading your post. It seems so far off for us but I know it will be here before we know it. I just can't imagine how hard it must be. I could tell in the pictures that the goodbyes were hard on Andrew too. I wonder if that seperation is even harder on homeschooling families because we are used to spending more time together?

I'll be praying for your mommas heart this week Beth. Wish I could give you a hug! Reading your blog always makes me appreciate the time I have right now- with our kids more. I think all moms of young children should regularly read the blog of a mom who's children are older!