Friday, August 21, 2009


Rachel has gone to college. It's not like we aren't sitting in a Mecca of colleges and universities right here at! She has to go and want the "I live totally away from home" experience! So last Saturday we loaded up the mini-van with her artist tools, her posters, her dvd's of favorite movies and animated super heroes, her books on animation, her favorite novels, her many action figures of super heroes, oh...we stuffed in some clothes and a few towels too...and we drove south for 90 minutes to Ephraim.

Ephraim is a teeny tiny little postage stamp of a "city"! Downtown is literally about four blocks long. If you head north on Main St. a few blocks you will find Walmart just past the old cemetery! The fact that Walmart is there comforts me in a weird sort of way. I know she has everything she needs in one easy stop! She can walk there although that will be uncomfortable in the very cold winter she will experience. Thank goodness her friend Luigi has a car. (Do not ask me for Luigi's real name, it escapes me. That is all the girls ever call him!)

The college itself is a beautiful, strangely modern looking place plunked down just east of the downtown metropolis and just west of farmland and cow pastures! It is surrounded by Victorian pioneer houses that have been there for 140 years. She loves it there. I am glad.

While sitting at the laptop this morning reading blog posts from Nie, Cjane, Rachel herself, and some strange man in a Viking hat (scary!), I glanced across the hall and saw this...


The morning sun drives Rachel crazy. It wakes her WAAAAY too early! But there it was, looking for her!

She called a few nights ago. There were tears in her voice. She claimed it was all about some stupid math class she wanted out of... I got an Email the next morning. She admitted there was some homesickness there. Michael, you were so right! I got a phone call yesterday. She and her roommate are coming home for the weekend with a friend who owns a car.

I could say "So much for living away from home!" But I won't.

I remember my first week in college.
That terrible hard lump in my throat.
That awful pain in my stomach.
The yearning for anything that felt familiar and like home.
The tears I shed in a cold, lonely phone booth begging to come home.
The pain in my Dad's voice when he toughly told me I needed to stay and stick it out.

He was right.

So right.

I was empty in that phone booth. Empty emotionally. Empty and friendless.

I stuck it out.

Four years later I was full!

Knowledge was swimming around in my brain. My heart was full of friendships that would last a lifetime. My arms were full of my dear husband. I was full of experiences that made me confident and bold (something I had never been). Most importantly, my spirit was full of testimony that had been gained through years on my own, enduring testing and trial. It began with the night of the phone booth. I was on my knees praying for help about ten minutes after a teary goodbye. I have found myself on my knees literally and in my heart ever since.

Rachel's room is empty. Rachel is only just beginning to fill her soul. I hope she enjoys the journey!


Lori said...

Oh how sad an empty room. No messes and noise. No wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful) smells. Just a quiet empty room. I wish I were there to give you a hug. It is a lonely feeling, isn't it? Why must they grow up and leave us?

URFAVE5 said...

This may sound strange but that was so beautifully wrote. I sobbed all the way through it. My heart just broke for you and for sweet Rachel. I can see and feel those years aren't really all that far off in the big scheme of things when I will have a empty room or two. This plan of leaving and growing is so tough! There are so many things in life we must go through that are so hard. I wish I were there with you to give you a big hug and eat a yummy dessert.

Anonymous said...

This post made me a little teary but then I remembered that those girls always come back home, that's my favorite thing about having daughters. See, she's already returning this weekend! Just as you described it, this will be a wonderful time in Rachel's life. I know you wouldn't change this experience for anything but it is tough for awhile. It took me the entire first year that Kaci was gone to get over being sad, then little by little it got easier for me. I know you're secretly a pro at this...after all, you have a child in Italy!!

Gena said...

Rachel is an astounding young woman. She's bright and imaginative and sweet. She's also normal and, with such a loving home, it would be abnormal if she didn't miss you all a lot. I remembered that first night I was left at school. I feel for her! She's awesome!

Helen Ellsworth said...

My Gosh Marianne; I had to read your post and it has left me so sorry for you. But we can't shield our children from all the experiences in life. Therr are things that will happren regardless of how much we want to make things right for them. I remember when Susan passed away and how badly I wanted to keep Richard from experiencing the pain and knowing I couldn't. In awhile things will get better and it won't be so hard. Let me know if Rachel ever needs something I can help her with. Love you.