Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Moving My Boy To New Jersey

Next week is going to be a beauty. My son will be moving from Nashville, Tennessee to Princeton, New Jersey to attend grad school. Here's how the itinerary looks on paper.

# Pam and I leave Richmond at 8 AM Monday morning headed for Nashville. It's 600 miles and will take 9 hours. Somewhere around Knoxville we gain an hour, crossing into the central time zone.

# Monday evening, we will attend Patrick's final choral concert in Nashville. This time it's a choir he created from scratch at the beginning of the summer. They have been rehearsing for nearly 3 months just for this one and only performance. It would seem that my son cannot go a single season without hatching some musical project, and spending a fortune on sheet music. ( BLAST you Sherri Matthews!!)

# Tuesday morning I pick up the Budget Rental truck and head over to Patrick's apartment. He is currently sleeping in the dining room of a place he has lived for only 2 months. The guy who is replacing him in this place decided to move in two weeks early, so all of Patrick's worldly possessions are stacked in what was once a dining room. He sleeps somewhere in the pile. When  he Skyped us the other night the only part of this chaos that looked even vaguely organized was the wall that contained his keyboard/computer combo. Oh..and the new guy has a puppy. So, here's hoping the mutt doesn't have flees. We will spend this day sorting through the mountains of stuff, organizing, discarding and boxing it all up. All the while we will be meeting Patrick's girlfriend of these past 4 months who we have heard about but never actually met..Caroline. Tuesday night we will all have dinner at Puckett's Boat House, Patrick's employer since graduation in December.

# Wednesday morning three vehicles will depart Nashville around 8 in the morning. I will be driving the truck, Pam will be driving our car, and Patrick will be driving his car with Caroline and his best friend Matt as passengers. We will all have walkie-talkies just in case Patrick's 14 year old VW Jetta dies on the way. On this leg of the journey, we lose that hour we gained on Monday, arriving back in Richmond hopefully around 7 o'clock in the evening.

# Thursday will be a day of Patrick showing his girlfriend the sights of his home town, while Pam frantically prepares for the last leg of the trip, and I go into the office and try to get some work done.

# Friday morning early, which for me would be 6 but will probably end up being 7:30, the same three vehicle convoy will depart Short Pump and make the most dangerous road trip in America...up 95 thru D.C., around Baltimore, across the Delaware bridge and onto the New Jersey turnpike. Mapquest says 5 and a half hours, but with the traffic, multiple accidents( hopefully not involving US) it could be 7 hours. Once we arrive in Princeton, we get to meet Patrick's new roommates who have already moved in. These are two kids he has never met, since he only knows them from Facebook.  Awesome.

# By mid afternoon Saturday, the move complete, and amidst much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth from my wife we will drop off the rental truck in Lawrenceville, and make the death-drive back to Richmond, arriving sometime before midnight. Total miles driven since Monday...2000. Total cost of truck, gas, meals and hotels..$1800.

Why do we do this as parents? Our son is 23 years old. He works, pays his own bills, he is a fully functioning adult. If left to his own devices he could move himself from Nashville to Princeton. Why spend all this money, blow and entire week of production to oversee the event? He didn't ask us to help. So, why do we do it? Part of me thinks we shouldn't insert ourselves into this thing. But another huge part of me thinks.."What, are you NUTS????" He's our little boy. Sure, maybe 15 years have passed since he has actually been our little boy, but it's hard to see him as a grownup. When we moved Kaitlin into her rental house at Wake Forest when she was starting grad school, I remember thinking to myself.." How is she going to make it here by herself, since she is only 6 years old?" We parents are weird that way. Time may march on, but not in our imaginations. These smart, engaging, ambitious adults staring back at us can't possibly be our children...can they? What happened??