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  • susyketchum

Sending My Extra Kid to College

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

One week before college and my son was ready. School supplies and toiletries were organized in boxes and totes, bedding was washed and a recent visit to the doctor's office completed his final set of immunizations. Even though my emotions were all over the board, I could at least relax knowing all "his stuff" was arranged. Mentally, I had to prepare for his leaving, but I had a few days for that. I felt really good knowing the 18 years of preparations were complete and I breathed a sigh of relief. That was until I woke up in the middle of the night in a panic!

For the past three weeks, my son Michael has been helping a friend prepare for college. Michael's friend Carter has had a less than easy life and decided at the last minute to go to college. He was also joining the football team and in order to pass the grueling endurance tests to start practice, Michael was up at 4:00 am every day to make the 30 minute drive to Carter's house, driving him 30 minutes to the gym and repeating the route home. Carter did not have a car and my son was more than willing to make the sacrifice if it meant Carter would make the team. Most days they would make a stop at our house to have breakfast before driving back to Cedar Rapids. We were convinced that this meal was the only one Carter was eating because on a previous occasion to meet his position coach, Carter turned to Michael and said, "I'm hungry." Michael bought him a meal and he ate it before the coach arrived at the restaurant. After the meeting, as the boys were leaving, Carter said, "I'm still hungry" and Michael bought him another meal. This was a turning point in the relationship. In the past, I would try to slip some money to Carter and his response was always the same, "You know I don't take money without earning it. I work for my money." Carter was proud and we really tried to respect that, with some exceptions. School supplies and his senior pictures were quite the struggle, but in the end, he relented. He was not afraid to work and held down a full time construction job during his senior year while participating in football and wrestling. For Carter to ask Michael for ANYTHING meant he was desperately hungry. After this incident he seemed to trust us more and felt at ease around our family. He shared more with me about his childhood and I was so grateful this kind-hearted soul crossed my path. He was becoming one of the family.

A little more than a week before school started, Michael came home from his workout with Carter and said to me, "Mom, I asked Carter how he was getting to school and he said he didn't know because he didn't have anyone to take him. I told him you can just throw your stuff in our car and ride with us." I smiled with pride at the man my son had become and the positive affect Carter had on my entire family. Knowing that Michael and the rest of the team would take care of Carter brightened my whole day and it made the pending dread I had felt recently subside just a little. I went to bed happy and fell asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow.

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