Vick's View


Few things cause more distress in a parent’s life than sending a kid off to college. For some parents it is heart wrenching. But for others, it is an absolute relief.

Our oldest son was rather nerdy in school and was somewhat socially awkward. He loved our ROTC, had a lot of friends, and was well liked. He ended up becoming the commanding officer of his ROTC unit in his senior year of high school. My husband constantly fretted about him though and felt the need to protect him in every way. I on the other hand tried to toughen him up.

So when college time rolled around we wanted him to go to a smaller school closer to home. But instead, he and a close friend decided to attend the University of South Carolina, a school so large that it’s almost like a small city. I was not happy about it, but my husband was almost beside himself. He worried that our son would not be able to handle strenuous college life on such a big campus.

Oddly enough, he successfully completed four years of college and law school, proving that he could tackle just about anything and come out on top. But that first day when we unloaded the car at the honeycombs at USC, my heart sank. This was going to change our close family probably forever, and no one likes change.

We hugged him goodbye, then got in the car and waited at the curb for him to give us one last wave before stepping into his dorm and out of the protective shell of our family. But he didn’t wave. He didn’t even look back. He was ready for his new adventure.

I remember being sad on the way home, my heart hurting. But when I looked over at my husband, the overprotective one, I saw tears streaming down his face. He needed my time and attention now more than ever. So my maternal instincts went into overdrive as I coddled him.

Three years later, we had to go through the same scenario once again when our youngest son went off to college. He was the self-confident one who never met a stranger. But I knew he was scared and uncertain that day we said goodbye at the dorm.

I held it together pretty well on the drive home until we reached our driveway. And then I realized that there were no more children in my house. I slowly made my way to his room and sat on the end of his bed just looking around at how empty it seemed. Tears started to fall as my heart felt so heavy. I was really missing my children.

But then, I shifted my weight on the bed and my foot hit something on the floor. I got down on my hands and knees to see what it was and began pulling out junk from under the bed. And I continued to pull out more and more stuff until the pile started growing unmanageable.

I filled three 50 gallon trash bags of garbage, torn clothes, and broken notebooks. By the time I finished I wanted to kill that boy and it was a good thing he was away at college. Before he left for college I had told him to clean his room completely and get rid of everything he didn’t want anymore. I guess he got bored with that and shoved everything under the bed.

After cleaning that disgusting mess, I didn’t miss him at all! In fact, I was pretty darn glad that he wasn’t there! That’s when I began a plan of revenge.

I turned his room into a girly oasis, complete with a lace bedspread, peach paint on the walls, an ornate white desk and mirror, and white bookshelves with a teacup collection and porcelain dolls.

I will never forget the look on his face or his words when he came home from college at Christmas break.

“My room!” He shouted. “What did you do to my room?!” He was staring in horror at the feminine room in front of him.

“This is my nap room,” I said. “This is where I come to relax, read or nap. It’s my room now.”

“But you and dad have a room,” he said. “Where am I supposed to sleep?”

“Ohh, you can sleep here when you’re home on school breaks. Just don’t mess it up, and whatever you do, don’t shove anything under the bed!” I gave him an evil look.

He grimaced and looked shame faced. Now, he finally knew what this was all about.

And you know what? To this day he doesn’t put anything under his bed. As for me, I began to love my empty nest. But my poor husband was missing his sons, so I bought him a dog.

And all was well.