Tuesday, September 1, 2015

the BYU drop-off

So after all the blubbering and heart-wrench (last post), we headed to take our boy up to start his life as an official BYU Cougar.
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As you can tell, he wasn't overly broken up about it.

Love the fact that he picked that particular shirt to wear...not sure if that was just a coincidence or not...

The “grand” part of sending a child off to college (that I promised to get to today) is that man, it is fun to watch that excitement sparkle in your child’s eyes.

….Although I’m pretty sure I didn’t have the same look in my eyes that he did when I first checked in to Boston University all those years ago.

The look in my eyes probably terrified my mother.  I was pretty much scared to death.

But Max was pleased as punch to be there which made the whole drop-off pretty exciting. It was honestly just like a three day party.

The first night we were in Salt Lake where we met up with my parents for dinner.2015-08-26 iPhone 115975
And took in the beautiful views downtown.2015-08-27 iPhone 115979
When Max claimed that his back "needed" a little rub that night before bed I jumped at the chance for a little more chatting before bed.  He spilled out so many feelings and questions and observations late into the night.

Now, anyone who knows Max knows that he’s not a huge talker so that little snippet of time was like a little gift that his mother will cherish for a long time.

The next morning we left bright and early for Provo and the big check-in orientation.

Oh my word.  There were a LOT of kids there all checking into their different groups for orientation.  2015-08-27 iPhone 115984
I don’t know if they do that at different colleges…they sure didn’t do it back at Boston University back in the day when I was a freshman, but maybe that’s just BU as opposed to BYU.

Max was so excited to get moved into his room that he couldn’t bring himself to do much with all the orientation festivities that morning, but we did talk him into coming to the “opening ceremonies” with us for a little bit.

Check out that sea of freshmen with their parents:2015-08-27 iPhone 115987
Then we were ready to move that kid in.2015-08-27 iPhone 115990
His roommate and his Dad were there to greet us, full of excitement as well.2015-08-27 iPhone 115994
And then the across-the-hall neighbors who happen to be old friends came for a visit too.2015-08-27 iPhone 115995
Max wasn’t the only one who got to be reunited with old friends. BYU kind of makes for a small world sometimes and a few of my BYU roommates from long, long ago have sons who are up there and some other great friends I haven’t seen forever were checking in their kids too. 

We met up with some friends from our Virginia days and one of my best college girlfriends:2015-08-27 iPhone 115998
They were checking in their daughters.  Kory’s daughter was gone to the orientation stuff at this point but here are Lynna and her cute Abbie:2015-08-27 iPhone 115999
(love the tippy-toes :)

We took these boys to lunch…2015-08-27 iPhone 116001
…and met up with these great women from my mother’s group (here) and their cute checking-in-freshmen daughters for dinner.2015-08-27 iPhone 116005
I sent that pic to the other mothers from that group we were missing and one commented back that you can see the sadness in the mom’s eyes and the excitement in the kids.

I think she’s dead-on. 

That night Dave and I headed to Target to gather some things Max needed for his dorm room and ran into Dave’s last missionary companion and his wife.2015-08-27 iPhone 116008
Honestly, it is a small world. 

We stood there and talked to them for an hour…I loved meeting them getting to listen in on some great mission stories.

We got to catch some of the big pep rally thing that night with all the incoming freshmen where they introduced a whole slew of sports teams and the marching band and cheerleaders, etc.2015-08-27 iPhone 116015
The only time I teared up on this whole trip was when that huge sea of kids all dressed in blue stood and sang “Rise and Shout” at the top of their lungs.

They took an “incoming freshmen” picture that makes me even more in awe about how many kids there are in the same position Max is (I think nearly 4,000), all with bright eyes and high hopes for the coming year.2015-08-30 iPhone 116140
Can you spot Max in there?

Ha!

We ran into Max following all the hoopla in the stadium and he looked like he was kind of missing us a bunch, poor kid.  Ha!2015-08-27 iPhone 116023
The next morning we came back to the dorm room with our Target supplies and helped finish off the big “move-in,” which wasn’t really “big” at all compared to all the girls moving in with all the bells and whistles. 

I'm kind of thinking this is the cleanest his closet will ever look though...
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Here he is in all his glory.
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He's saving that big spot on the wall for a map or flag or something from his mission when he gets his call.

I tried to get him to let me help arrange things like all his pictures we printed out, etc., but this is as far as we got before he was ready to take off again for whatever was next on the agenda, assuring that "he's got this."

So Dave and I utilized some time to visit our cute niece who is also starting as a freshman up there (at UVU).
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Sure love that Allie.  She is settling in so nicely into her new environment too.

That night another new freshman from our church congregation here in the desert who plays soccer for the BYU team up there reserved some tickets for us so we could go to the game that night.
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She and her sister both play and boy that team is very impressive.

The temperature was perfect with the golden rays filtering through and we helped hit an all-time record for the amount of spectators there.
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Max helped in the spectator category too...he was somewhere in that huge crowd of cheering students.
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Dave and I had a chance to go past our old stomping grounds (where we met...more on that here and here).
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I finally got to seize the opportunity to hike up to the "Y" on the mountain by BYU and dragged Dave along with me...except he had to pretty much drag me because that thing was steep I tell you!
But the view was pretty spectacular.
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This is at the very tippy-top of that "Y."
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And here's looking up from the bottom.
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We learned so much history about that thing.

Stuff like how they built it over a hundred years ago, how they used to light it up on special occasions with little lanterns (now they do it with a generator three or four times a year), how they carried up all the cement, how the original plan was to write all three BYU letters but somehow they decided just "Y" was enough (more history stuff on that over here).
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Fun to try to pick out where Max's dorm was from clear up there, our old apartment, the library, our old favorite hang-outs.
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See the side profile we were leaving behind as we walked back down?  That sucker is 380 feet high and 130 feet wide.
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After our hike we got showered up and headed over to our special spot:

Sundance.

That's where we got engaged over 20 years ago.
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It was just as gorgeous as ever.
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We met up with our friends who used to live in the desert with us and since moved away to Utah.
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...and also met up with my sister and her kids who happened to be in the same bike race, but didn't get a good picture, dang it!

So, you may ask, where was the star of this post while we were off on our great long date?

Oh just soaking up his new life with a big huge smile stretched across his face.

Dave has been joking that it was kind of like "catch and release" with fishing.  We unhooked that kid of ours and set him free into a giant ocean...and he couldn't have been happier.

My wise friend Sarah once told me that "college is not a prize to be won, but a fit to be made" and she was so right.

This decision and move sure seem to fit him like a glove.

As we headed out of town we went to drop off one last thing to him in his dorm and said goodbye amidst a few friends.  No tears, no drama, just a whole lotta love...and an inside vow I would be back to visit before too long...I think that's what held the tears back:)
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(Maybe Dave chose that shirt on purpose just like maybe Max did on the first day???)

And it was all grand...

...until we got home and I caught a glimpse of his empty room and it was like I was imploding with darkness all over again.

Things will never be quite the same again.  And although I know that's ok and good and the proper progression and all that jazz, I'm pretty sure there will always be a gaping hole in my heart missing him.

A few months ago, in anticipation of this big step my mom and dad both sent me this poem on separate occasions.  And it is pretty beautiful so I want to share it here too:

Walking Away

It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day --
A sunny day with leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled -- since I watched you play
Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away

Behind a scatter of boys.  I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be.

That hesitant figure, eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About nature's give-and-take -- the small, the scorching
Ordeals which fire one's irresolute clay.

I have had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still.  Perhaps it is roughly 
Saying what God alone could perfectly show -- 
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go.

--Cecil Day-Lewis (circa 1962)

I'll always be sad it came so dang quickly, but I do believe whole-heartedly in those last two lines.

The part of me that is hollow and raw yearning for the laughter, little spats, hugs and doors slamming of ALL of us under one roof is accompanied by another part filled with wonder at how much he's grown even in two days, and excitement to watch this son of mine spread his wings and fly.2007-07-25 Bear Lake reunion 0281
Now to get ready to do all this over again with Elle in a year....

Oh boy.

29 comments:

  1. aw...how great for him. I'm glad he seems happy I'm sure that makes it a little easier for you. The last picture of you with him skiing brings tears to my eyes (it did in your post yesterday too) cause I know exactly how you feel in that pic. So proud, that's how I've felt about my son! Good luck to all of you!

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  2. I was fine until the last two lines of this poem...and that last picture. I must have needed this cry. Thanks for sharing. ~K.

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  3. I love that last picture. It is perfect!

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  4. This post and the last one make me feel dread but also excitement for when my son (also named Max, funny enough) goes to college. He's only six months old so I still have a while, thank goodness! Loved seeing BYU in your pictures! I miss that place,

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  5. I have been reading your blog for a few years and have loved "getting to know" your family. Congratulations to you and Max! He's got some amazing adventures ahead. (Can you imagine what it's going to be like to see him serve a mission, get married, have children, etc.?!) Thanks for inspiring me to savor the moments I have with my girls. My oldest is 10 and I am already dreading her growing up! If 10 years can go by so fast, the next 8 are going to be gone in a blink!

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  6. So excited for him! I remember when I was dropped of at BYU 8 years ago, that freshman year was such a blast! He will have a great time. But this is making me sad thinking about taking my 3 year old boy to college in 15 years.....

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  7. Sabrina: Tomaten auf den Augen haben.

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  8. I attended BYU and loved it because it was just the kind of growing up that I wanted to become the person that I am today. Max is one lucky kid to get to attend that University.

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  9. Life is beautiful. and this post matches it perfectly! It's all so good!

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  10. That picture is perfect!! I love this post. I have three boys . Two in college and one just starting his senior year of high school. Life is beautiful. I would give anything to go back but I am so proud of who they are becoming.

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  11. All seven of our children are BYU grads, sent off to school from our various Air Force assignments. It was hard to say goodbye, but do prepare yourself for saying goodbye at the MTC...that's really tough to do! Our five boys all served missions and I missed them like crazy.
    Now my husband is retired from the AF, we sometimes eat at the Cannon Center with the family, so I will watch for that tall young man from Gilbert. By the way, I have two sons living in Gilbert with their families and I still miss them!

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  12. it was such a fun post until you Saud you walked last his room.. and then I had a huge lump in my throat.. I think it will be just as hard with Elle when you have to do it all again.. but seriously what a great accomplishment for max snd for you !

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  13. Ps..I wanted to go to BYU so bad.. it's one regret in my life.. however.. I have a daughter who wants to go.. but since she's turning 12.. and we live in Canada....lol
    anyways.. a few questions.. when you live in dorms fo you get to choose your room mates?.. and is there a kitchenette...or where do they eat?.. i don't know why I need to know... she just started 6th grade haha

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    Replies
    1. You do have the chance to pick a roommate, but sometimes it doesn't work out. As for your question about kitchenette/dining... depends on which dorm you pick. The one that Max lives in there is a teeny kitchen in the building that anyone in the building could use, but mostly those kids will eat at the cafeteria. There is a different style of dorms that is more apartment like- 3 bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen all in one apartment.

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  14. I love that we are going through the same thing! Your words & thoughts are very encouraging to me thanks for sharing.

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  15. Love your posts about Max going off to school. We just dropped our son off for his 2nd year of college. His move-in style was "put it in the corner and I'll take care of it later". All my friends with girls spent HOURS moving their girls in and decorating their dorms! Oh, well! Hope Max has a GREAT year!

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  16. You don't know me or my family, and I only know you from reading this blog, but I feel for you! When you wrote about seeing his empty room it tugged at my little mommy heart strings. We are in different yet similar situations this year. My oldest (of 4) just started all day kindergarten and even though she's still home at night, I feel I can relate a little as we now do "family" things during the day without her. And we are just embarking on after school activities that take us away from the simpler days of even just a year ago. When we were all always together and had our evenings to ourselves. I'm already missing them as I think of you sending your oldest to school in another state. I'm excited to see who they become, but it's hard not to think of the empty rooms that will surely come before I'm ready. Thanks for sharing your lives with us. He will have so much fun and will cherish the times even more when he gets to be at home with y'all.

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  17. You don't know me or my family, and I only know you from reading this blog, but I feel for you! When you wrote about seeing his empty room it tugged at my little mommy heart strings. We are in different yet similar situations this year. My oldest (of 4) just started all day kindergarten and even though she's still home at night, I feel I can relate a little as we now do "family" things during the day without her. And we are just embarking on after school activities that take us away from the simpler days of even just a year ago. When we were all always together and had our evenings to ourselves. I'm already missing them as I think of you sending your oldest to school in another state. I'm excited to see who they become, but it's hard not to think of the empty rooms that will surely come before I'm ready. Thanks for sharing your lives with us. He will have so much fun and will cherish the times even more when he gets to be at home with y'all.

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  18. You don't know me or my family, and I only know you from reading this blog, but I feel for you! When you wrote about seeing his empty room it tugged at my little mommy heart strings. We are in different yet similar situations this year. My oldest (of 4) just started all day kindergarten and even though she's still home at night, I feel I can relate a little as we now do "family" things during the day without her. And we are just embarking on after school activities that take us away from the simpler days of even just a year ago. When we were all always together and had our evenings to ourselves. I'm already missing them as I think of you sending your oldest to school in another state. I'm excited to see who they become, but it's hard not to think of the empty rooms that will surely come before I'm ready. Thanks for sharing your lives with us. He will have so much fun and will cherish the times even more when he gets to be at home with y'all.

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  19. Was doing just fine until the last photo. LOVE it! That's every mother cheering each step of the way. Max will do great! He's had amazing parents:)

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    1. Actually this is Andrew's Mom:), Rachelle

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  20. Thank you, for sharing your life with all of us. I enjoy reading your blog because it's so inspiring. I have three young girls 4,2, and a newborn. I love hearing your family traditions it makes me want to make traditions of our own and you give me so many good ideas of how to raise my family. So thank you! I wish max the best! And my heartaches for you I can only imagine how you must feel. This last picture of you cheering him on is beautiful !! That's such a great visual of us moms..always cheering them on !

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  21. i love your sharing heart as you journey down the path your family takes. i love following along on your path of adventure! i'm sure you've heard of stephanie nielsen {aka nie nie dialouges}. she hikes the Y every single day. i think she just wrote that she did it in 20 minutes. all your photos were stunning but i liked the photos of the Y the best in this blog post. thank you for inspiring, always.

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  22. Oh wow, totally made me cry! Love that last picture!!

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  23. Hi Shawni,

    I couldn't find an email for you so I apologize for posting this here:

    Love your blogs (all of them!)

    I think you're going to love this since you are a photographer.

    I'm Daniel Woods, (bio included to play the Mesa do you know someone I know game lol...)

    Grew up in Mesa, AZ Mt View Class of 1994 (BYU 2002 - served France Paris Mission) Parents Dr. William G Woods DDS, Renee Woods. Siblings Rachelle, Ammon, Nathan, Brig, Sam, Sarah

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    I though you and your audience might be excited about this.

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    sign up here: https://beachshoot.com/underwater


    This is me https://youtu.be/QD_hrJLqEhY

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    I'm married with 2 beautiful young boys.

    Would you be willing to grab some spots, or to help me promote this?

    Daniel Woods
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  24. I am glad you had no drama--My daughter and I, on the other hand, were absolute wrecks! We were out to dinner Friday night when my youngest began to cry--that was my cue to grab the check and go because soon all three of us were a mess of tears. The reality of going off to school was one thing, but having parents on the other side of the planet is another and was just more than she could bare. I am happy to report the week got better (after having dropped calculus) and things are looking up. :) Will be interested to learn where Max is called to serve.

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  25. Totally random question for you! Where are your jeans from?? You are so precious!

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  26. I love this blog! I'm not a mom, not even married, but I am grateful for what I learn about deliberate mothering from you. Someday when I have children of my own, I know I'll appreciate it even more.

    I mostly just wanted to say that I saw Max on campus today! I almost said hello...before thinking about how I am just one of thousands who reads his momma's blog :) He looked good and happy and all those things that you want for your freshman in college. BYU is a great place to be!

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  27. I just realized...(or put two and two together) that my cousin Chase is starting there this semester as well. My cousin Allison goes there also (Chase's sister) so if you meet the Sleds, that's my family. Though now, seeing the pictures, there are a TON of people at that school but anyways, there's that. lol.

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