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Someone’s Ready for Auburn Football

Look who’s ready for some Auburn football…

Don’t you just love the collar that Gambit is sporting?

I saw it on my friend’s Instagram feed.  Kelli and I went to high school together, and she married a guy in my class (she graduated the year after we did).  I remember her being artsy back then, so it didn’t surprise me when I discovered that she has an Etsy store, KM Designs, where she specializes in themed dog collars but has a variety of other hand-crafted items as well.

As soon as I saw the Auburn collar, I knew I had to splurge.  Gambit is Rooster’s dog, and Rooster is fond of wearing bow ties.  In fact, it’s the thing in Auburn right now.

I had some questions regarding which collar size to get, and Kelli immediately responded to my messages…within the same hour…on the weekend!  Needless to say, my order went in the same day!

The collar is very well made.  Kelli did a great job!  The collar is good quality; the clasp snaps together tightly.

Gambit seems pleased with all of the extra attention he’s getting.

Oh, and if you’re looking for hand-made jewelry, check out Madelyn’s Etsy store, The Frilly Fox.  She’s Kelli’s daughter and equally beautiful and talented!  I ordered my mom this necklace for Mother’s Day.  Delivery was super fast, and the hand-stamped necklace is so pretty!

Star-Struck!

Last Friday began as an ordinary day.

Oh sure, it was Friday…and it was pay day (a very good thing indeed)…but still, it was a fairly regular sort of day.

Things were about to change, though.

I’d heard that an Auburn coach was on campus, but when he walked in my room, I was struck dumb when I saw his name…

Dameyune Craig!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hello?

Do you not know who this is?

Um…well…just read these stats, which I copied from his bio page on Auburn’s website

Craig played quarterback at Auburn from 1994-97, where he still holds numerous Auburn passing records, including completions (216) and passing yards (3,227) in a season as well as a single-game record for most net yards gained (445 vs. Army in 1996; 75 rush, 370 pass). Craig, who led Auburn to an 18-7 mark in 25 career starts, was an exceptional student-athlete on and off the field, earning Academic All-SEC honors as a senior in 1997.

Now are you properly impressed?

Not only that, but he is one of our coaches now, one of the country’s top recruiters, and in case you’ve forgotten, we just finished a STELLAR season!!!

THIS man was standing in MY classroom.

I am not normally at a loss for words, but I became speechless.

My students were looking on, and they laughed!

You want to know what I did?

Just wait for it, because you’re not going to believe it.

I…

Asked…

If I could HUG him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah.

I’m kind of awkward like that.

He laughed and said yes.

SO I DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My students were totally cracking up by now.

He spent about fifteen minutes in my room, and let me just tell you that he was the nicest famous person I have ever met!  In fact, he’s one of the nicest of all people that I’ve ever met.

He was selfless during our discussion and asked ME about my kids (he could see pictures on my bulletin board).  He asked me about attending Troy, having been told by someone that’s where I’d gone.

Seriously.

We talked about how the Mr. and I want to move to Auburn when he retires.

For the record, Dameyune recommended that we build…much cheaper than buying something already built.

He asked me what I taught, and we discussed State of Florida graduation requirements.

Seriously.

He was gracious to a fault and hugged me A SECOND TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have the picture to prove it.

And yes, I realize that I haven’t (except for yesterday) ever shown my picture on my blog.

When you meet Dameyune Craig, you break your own rules.

heehee

My students were still talking about my fan behavior yesterday when we returned to school.

I’m cool like that.

For the record, I talked to a math teacher who is also a huge Auburn fan, and she said she totally would have hugged him too.

Of course, she probably would have talked football stats with him.

She’s way cooler than I am.

So yes, I hugged Dameyune Craig TWICE.

He’ll probably ask for someone else to visit my school the next time Auburn sends a recruiter.  I can hear the conversation now…”You see, there’s this crazy Reading teacher, and she HUGS, and, like, you can’t really say no, you know what I mean?  So you’ve gotta send somebody else.”

heehee

What a wonderful experience this was…one I will NEVER forget!

When AuburnChick Screams at the TV…

When I, AuburnChick, scream at the TV, you know something big is happening.

Especially while watching sporting events.

I’m fairly laid-back when watching a game, race, or soccer match on TV.

But…

That changed last night as I watched the Auburn-Georgia game.

As you might infer from my name, I am an Auburn fan.

No, I do not have auburn-colored hair, as some have asked.

I grew up in a small town in Alabama where the choice to be an Alabama or Auburn fan is decided for each person while that person is still in the womb.  Long-standing family traditions are the deciding factor.

I moved to Alabama when I was nine years old and had to make a choice.  I liked the way orange and blue looked together, and I also liked the way Auburn played, for I was watching football in my room, by myself, while most girls were playing with Barbies.

Anyoo, I am digressing.

That was all a setup to explain how deep my affection runs for my team.

But still, it is usually a quiet affection.

Last night was different.

I’d begun removing my Auburn-themed jewelry as I sat and watched the game.

Heck, we were up by twenty points.

I’d even thought of a good friend of mine…a Georgia fan…and considered posting something on his Facebook wall.

Ha.

The football gods laughed at me as Georgia began making a comeback.

The score got closer and closer, and finally, to my dismay, Georgia was ahead.

Auburn was not looking good.  Our quarterback had lost the mojo he’d been finely displaying earlier in the game.

I looked at my jewelry sitting on the table and wondered if I’d jinxed the game.

I quickly put it back on as Auburn got the ball back.

We were sucking, let me tell you.

It came down to the 4th down with eighteen freaking (yes, I said that) yards to go for a first down.

I frantically ate my way through a bowl of Cajun boiled peanuts, my fingernails digging into each shell…taking out my nerves on those poor, innocent peanuts that were refusing to come out of their shells, just as Auburn was refusing to put up good plays.  (I’m still digging peanut guts out from under my fingernails.)

And then the following happened…

This is when calm and collected AuburnChick began screaming at the television.

My next-door neighbors might have thought someone had died.

My dogs started barking.

And still I screamed, at the top of my lungs.

I’m sure the volume was similar to that of the stadium.

But there were still 25 seconds to play.

I dug into more peanuts and watched, horrified, as Georgia’s quarterback led his team down the field making one good pass after another.

Dang those amazing college athletes.

It all came down to three seconds…one last play.

It was do or die.

We sacked the QB, and once again…

I started screaming at the TV…

And the dogs started barking.

Oh.

My.

Gosh.

My Twitter and Facebook feeds blew up.

I got up to get something to drink.

As I tried to pour Chick-fil-A sweet tea (this is the South) from the gallon I’d purchased earlier, my hands shook.

It was all I could do to prevent a huge spill.

I sat back down on the couch, and I promise you that my legs were still shaking.

It was an amazing game that could have gone either way.

Georgia certainly deserved a win given how the team had come back from a large deficit.

As a mom of a college athlete, my heart went out to those boys on the field.

For a second anyway.

At my core, I’m all about Auburn…one of the only teams that will turn THIS mild-mannered Southern girl into a raving lunatic who screams at the TV during college football season.

 

BYX Parent Weekend

I took a half day off on Friday so I could travel to Auburn to visit Rooster.

It was Auburn’s homecoming, but I was mainly going to see my boy and attend his fraternity’s parent dinner.

The Mr. and I met up with Rooster and spent time chatting with him in his dorm room. His bedroom was a bit of a disaster because he had hosted Chicky, my nephew, and Chicky’s roommate last weekend…
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We ate dinner together and then attended the women’s volleyball game, where we scored free t-shirts…20121103-210921.jpg

We had so much fun! Aubie and the cheerleaders were there, and the crowd was loud and supportive.20121103-212619.jpg

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The walk to and from the volleyball venue was gorgeous. The campus is a pretty place at night!!20121103-211405.jpg

We bid Rooster goodnight and headed to our hotel.

The next morning, we got an early start. it was just us, a squirrel, and the few other people securing good parking places.20121103-210814.jpg

Of course, a trip to Auburn always involves shopping. I splurged a teensy bit…

20121103-210825.jpg

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I returned to the car to drop off my water bottle and was supposed to meet the Mr. at the Alumni Tent. Well, I got lost. Along the way, I did run into part of the band and enjoyed their little per-game show…
20121103-214645.jpg

Meanwhile, the Mr. had bought a couple of tickets. Boy did we luck out! We sat on the 50-yard line, row 16, next to the student section…

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The view was amazing!!

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We won…finally!

We met up with Rooster after the game. It was sweet to watch him analyze the game with the Mr. as we walked around campus…

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As we walked, we passed below the toilet paper-laden trees (they are still very sick though)…

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We had a lot of fun shopping and bought Rooster a new bow tie and a pair of plaid shorts. The boy is developing a great sense of style!

We left him to return to his dorm, while we ran to our hotel to freshen up for dinner.

When we drove back to campus, I stopped by Toomer’s Drugs to get my lemonade fix…

20121103-210902.jpg

Then, it was time for Rooster’s fraternity’s parent dinner.

We were treated to a slideshow that gave us glimpses into the last two months of our boys’ lives. What fun they’ve been having too!!!

The president and the chaplain spoke, and I was moved by their sincere words.

BYX was started at Auburn in 2008, and it has been growing slowly ever since.

Its mission is to provide a place where Christian young men can strengthen their faith and serve as an example to others that college guys can serve the Lord during these still-formative years of their lives.

This is an impressive group of young men, and I am so thankful that God led Rooster to them.

It is a tangible sign that God’s hand is on my boy, and I find that incredibly comforting when I can’t always have my eyes on the sweet boy I gave birth to so many years ago.

Saying goodbye was bittersweet. Rooster always makes me feel loved and appreciated.

I’ll get to see him in a couple of weeks, and you better believe that I’ll be counting down the minutes, as I do when I know I’m about to see either one of my babies.

We Interrupt This Programming

I had planned to blog about my weekend; however, when I saw the following video posted on my boy’s Facebook page…

Well…

I had to share.

First, the history.

Rooster is a pledge in Auburn’s Christian fraternity, BYX (I told you about this before).

The sister sorority is the Phi Lambda crew…Christian young women.

I’m not exactly sure I understand the finer details, but apparently, the brothers were charged with protecting an axe handle…which is some sort of symbol or trophy for some type of competition the fraternity won.

Well, the Phi Lambdas stole the handle, and it was up to the pledges to rescue it.

To do so, they were bribed…

Into a performance…

Of which had the makings for one of the cutest little videos I’ve seen in a long time.

You know…some kids go off to college and find their fun in drinking and whatnot.

My boy, thank goodness, is hanging with a different group of guys…and they’re into good, clean fun.

Watch until the end.

It’s worth it.

Trust me.

Going the Unconventional Route

Rooster has always been the kind of kid who marched to the beat of his own drum…both literally and figuratively.

Things haven’t changed much now that he’s away at college.

He spent the first week and a half bored to death.

With few friends and two of his suitemates in the band, he didn’t have anyone to do anything with.

Rooster is a bit introverted and isn’t known for socializing.

However…

That changed when he branched out and took a chance.

We suggested that he look into joining a fraternity.

Not because we wanted him to get the “full” experience of college, but because we wanted him to make connections.

On his own, Rooster decided to look at Farm House and BYX (Beta Upsilon Chi).

BYX stands for Brothers Under Christ and is pronounced “bux.”

Both fraternities are known for their non-drinking stances.

BYX, though, is an outright Christian fraternity.

Although the organization doesn’t have a full charter (or something like that) at Auburn, the group is working on it.

Rooster went through Fraternity Rush week and by the end had himself a bid…

From BYX.

The group is serious about keeping its members focused on Christ’s teachings, and the new pledges were immediately put into small groups.

They were also added to group text messages and receive multitudes of messages every day inviting them to do things with other “brothers.”

When we saw Rooster last weekend, he gushed about his new group of friends.

Chicky even commented on his Facebook wall, saying she was proud of her “Brudder.”

Well, this Mama is too.

Rooster purposely sought out other young men who share his faith in the Lord and serve a risen Savior.

At a time in his life when he could be going wild and crazy…away from home for the first time and free from my apron strings…he is making very good choices.

I’m extremely proud of him and grateful for answered prayers.

The following picture was posted by one of the guys in the fraternity.  The pledges had to get a picture of the entire pledge class atop the roof of one of the famed buildings on the campus with a certain other building in the background.

I guess you could say “Mission Accomplished.”

In my mind, this saying has many meanings.

Game Day!

Today is Auburn’s first game of the 2012 season, and we are raring to go here at Chez AuburnChick.

I made a visit to a new-to-me nail salon yesterday and had my nails done.  I knew I wanted Auburn colors but couldn’t find quite what I wanted as far as polish went.

The nail tech pulled the following bottles out of her drawer…

She has a customer who keeps the polish at the salon but allows the tech to use them on customers who want the colors (quite generous, eh?).

It looks like you can buy the polish through various sellers.  Here’s one place I found.

The tech did such a wonderful job on my nails that I returned today to have my toes painted while Rooster went to a friend’s daughter’s first birthday party.

Rooster and the Mr. picked up a party platter from Chick-fil-A.  They do like their chicken!

The party is on at Chez AuburnChick.

Bring on the college football!

We are ready!

A Mama Takes Her Youngest to College

I began writing this post around 9pm Sunday night.  It’s now 12:28am.

This is your clue that I have much to say.

I would have written it earlier on Sunday, but I took it somewhat easy today after what had been a very difficult evening the night before.

I didn’t attend church because I knew the tears were lurking right below the surface, and I didn’t want to make a fool out of myself when I got the inevitable question of, “How are you doing?”

Anyhoo…let’s move on.

What I really wanted to do with this post was to tell you about taking Rooster to college for, despite the sad tone of my last couple of posts, it was a grand time!

WARNING:  This post is very picture heavy.

I cannot help it.

I’m a gal who reflects on my life through the use of lots of words and lots of pictures.

As you know from reading the post I wrote in the wee hours of Friday morning, I was unable to sleep the night before we left.  I had many things on my mind, and I just couldn’t shut off my brain cells.

This worked to my favor, though, as I got things organized to go.

I had a young man, the same age as Chicky, who was coming to watch the dogs.  True to my organized teacher self, I had placed dog food in labeled baggies and left three pages of instructions, including a picture I drew of where the dogs’ food bowls were to be placed in relation to the furniture.  Overkill?  Maybe a wee bit, but the dogs are trained to eat certain places, and I didn’t want them to get confused.

We loaded up the car, and I was surprised, once again, at how few items Rooster had decided to take.  We took two cars…mine and his.

I took the second picture from the front seat of Rooster’s car.  Sorry for the poor quality.  It’s obvious, though, that Rooster didn’t have much in his car either.

I had decided to ride with Rooster.  I wanted to take advantage of every minute I had with him.  Despite an argument an hour or so before we left, I persevered and got in that car with him.  I remembered from Chicky’s first time going to college that kids and mamas get on each others’ nerves and say things they don’t mean to say because of the change that’s coming.  It was easy to forgive Rooster.

We stopped for gas, and I picked up a little breakfast…

I uploaded pictures to Facebook as I took them, and when my friend, Barbara, saw this one, she said it was obvious a teenage boy had picked out the combination.

I chuckled as I texted back that the food was for ME!  😀

So the drive began with Rooster following behind the Mr., who was driving my car…

Rooster and I enjoyed easy conversations as he drove.  Oh, how I treasured the hours we spent together in the car.  He’s a good driver, and I dozed off for about twenty minutes, exhausted from my lack of sleep the night before.

When I woke up, he said, “Mama, did you know that you snore?”

Um, no, I didn’t.

We figured out, though, that it was the position of my head that made me sound funny when I breathed.

Whew!

After stopping for lunch at what has to be one of the dirtiest Burger Kings I’ve ever been to (it’s in Dothan, by the way), we continued our drive.

Before long, we were entering Auburn…

Every time I go to Auburn, I feel as if I’m home.  Seeing the stadium makes me think of football season and the passion it draws out in people.

There’s a lot of pride in Auburn…

We got Rooster’s parking pass and then decided to park our cars and do a little bit of window shopping.  I saw the following as we entered the Haley Center…

Shopping was fun…especially because there weren’t the hordes of people that there usually are on football Saturdays.  I could actually shop without getting that claustrophobic feeling that I get when I’m in large crowds…

I found something I liked…a lot…

For obvious reasons, I didn’t buy it…

After visiting a couple of stores, we decided to eat dinner.  Rooster saw Chipotle’s and, because he’d never eaten there, we decided to give it a go.  I’d eaten there last year when I visited Chicky at school, so I knew I liked it.  Here’s what I got…

Vegan heaven!

While we were eating, we remembered that we’d discussed going to see a movie, so after checking times, we headed back to the hotel to get ready.  Our room was so clean and comfortable!

Soon, we were on our way to see The Bourne Legacy.  We have always enjoyed the previous movies in this series.

The movie theater was one of the most plush that I’ve seen in a while.  There were small movie screens mounted to the walls, and previews were showing on them.  Rooster and the Mr. watched while I simply enjoyed sitting close to my boy.  The Mr. took what will always be one of my favorite pictures of the two of us.  I wish I could share it with you here, but I don’t post pictures of our faces.  My Facebook friends were getting to see my saga play out, though, as I constantly uploaded new pictures.

The movie was quite good, by the way!

So far, I’d managed to hold myself together, although I caught myself, sometime during the movie, thinking ahead to actually hugging Rooster goodbye the next day, and I teared up a bit.  Thank goodness it was dark in the theater.  Although he was sitting beside me, he never saw a thing.

We went back to the hotel, watched the evening’s Olympic events, and headed into Dreamland.  I slept hard.  I was worn out.

Auburn had organized the move-in process by assigning students to move-in shifts.  Our time slot was 8-8:30.  EARLY!  Rooster had a little trouble getting up…

Oh, good gravy, but I was not looking forward to what stretched ahead of me.  Sigh.

Off we went, and the skies were gloomy.  It’s been raining almost every day down here in the South.

How things worked was that cars pulled up to the curb, where there were volunteers to assist with the unloading process.  After unloading, cars were moved to the parking lot just beyond the drop-off zone.  Then, a designated member of each family stayed with the piles of stuff while other members of the family took stuff to the dorms.

It was interesting to compare Rooster’s pile of stuff with others’.  We’d even seen, as we’d driven up, a full-sized dresser in the back of a trailer.  WOW!

Rooster’s Pile

Rooster got assigned to be in Aubie Hall.  We smiled broadly when we got the news in the mail last Spring because Aubie is the name of our oldest dog.  This assignment seemed quite fitting!

We had to climb several sets of stairs to get to Rooster’s floor.  The hallways were narrow and seemed to go on forever!  In fact, Rooster and the Mr. got a little lost the first time they took a load up…

It took about four trips to the curb to get the entire pile to Rooster’s room…

Isn’t that a beautiful building?

I had not been on the campus tour, so I was pleasantly surprised when I caught my first glimpses of the dorm…I mean suite.

The suite is beautiful!  It doesn’t even feel like a dorm but more like an apartment!  It has four rooms (one student sleeps in each), two bathrooms, a living room, and a kitchen.

Two of Rooster’s suite-mates are in the band and have been at school for a week or two already.  Someone brought this…

Another guy brought this…

Talk about a good setup!!  Makes ME wish I was living the college life!!

The view from the living room is beautiful…the stadium!!

Rooster has a great view from his room as well…one of the dining halls and the basketball arena…

We also had a good view of the other families moving students in…

We started putting things in Rooster’s room.

Rooster has a decent sized area to hang clothes.

We got busy, got his bed made, and unpacked his clothes.

Along the way, we thought of things we needed to get, so I started a list on an app on my phone…

We made what has become a tradition in our family…a Walmart run…for last-minute items.

I love shopping in Auburn.  It’s where I can find fabrics like these…

And these…

My small list turned into this (you always wind up buying more than you intended!)…

Back to school we went, where we helped Rooster put away the new items.

It didn’t take long.  Rooster is very minimalistic, taking satisfaction in the few things he has, not needing a ton of stuff.

Rooster wanted to make sure his student card had been loaded with his food money, so we visited one of the eateries on campus…the Chick-n-Grill…

I got a veggie wrap, of course…

Rooster really, really likes this place, so I’d venture to bet that he’ll be visiting often.

As we walked around campus, I found myself enjoying the view…sights I never tire of during my visits…

The green areas on campus are breathtaking!  I was struck by this tree…don’t ask me why…perhaps because it was beautiful.

We got back to his room and put away a few more things.  On our way up, this time taking the elevator, I was struck by the attention to detail.  Although the elevator goes to several floors, the hallways are locked and require student key cards, specifically coded for individual students’ floor assignments, before entry can be made.  The building is co-ed with the floors being dedicated to either all girls or all boys and the floors alternating from one to another (i.e. 2nd/4th are boys and 1st/3rd are girls).  As a mama, I just LOVE this!!

This is not Rooster’s hallway, by the way!

Rooster’s room looked fantastic when we got finished!  I loved the little touches he added, such as his Scentsy candle, which I bought him last year.  He loved Canada when we stopped during our cruise to Alaska last year, so that’s why I bought him a Canada candle holder.

Rooster and the Mr. had been purchasing little trinkets like the following…

His desk looked so organized and clean

I’m sure it won’t surprise you when I tell you that before we left, he had his computer and xBox connected to AU’s wifi.

We’re hoping to see some academic books added to the shelves below (or rather to the desktop above)…

Then, we took a look at the Welcome Week brochure, which contained daily schedules of activities designed to help students meet each other and learn about different organizations on campus…

One fun activity was this…

For the record, Rooster wound up not going to this.  Instead, he attended a praise and worship time at the college’s chapel.

Yep.

He turned down FREE ice cream to worship with other believers.

I.  Am.  Humbled.

But I’m digressing because he did that AFTER we dropped him off.

After we perused the Welcome Week brochure, we left his room.  Rooster told us to take a good look at his bed because it was the only time we’d see it made.  He wasn’t planning on keeping things completely straight.

And this is the part of the story that gets difficult.

I’d done so well all day.

I had not cried.

Well, that’s not true.

When he’d gone to get us a better buggy at Walmart, the Mr. and I started talking, and I did tear up.  I wiped my tears before Rooster got back to us.

Still, I’d kept myself together.

As we sat on the couch talking to Rooster, it became obvious that there wasn’t much else for us to do.

We had made small talk with one of his roommates who was also moving in on Saturday.  His parents were very nice.  They had left, though, to get lunch, so we had Rooster all to ourselves.

Though there were evening activities planned for families, we hadn’t known about them ahead of time, and we’d already planned to head on home late that afternoon (I’ll know better for next year!).

Finally, the Mr. gave me “THE LOOK.”

If you’ve been married a while, you know what I’m talking about.

It was the impatient, “Are you ready to leave” look.

Sigh.

It had to be done.

I would have gladly stayed all day…all weekend…every day for the next four years.

I excused myself to use the restroom, where I started crying.

It’s difficult to type this without crying.

The pain was growing.

I managed to get myself together.

Rooster was in his room alone, and I hugged him and told him how much I loved him.

He’s not a gushy kind of guy, so he didn’t say much.

I think he was a little ready for us to leave, but he was being polite and not saying it.

He didn’t want to walk downstairs with us, but I asked him to anyway.

Oh, who am I kidding?

I made him…guilted him into it.

I wanted a couple of final pictures.

I needed that.

The Mr. and I took turns taking pictures of each other with our boy.

I didn’t cry.

I was good.

I told Rooster, for the upteenth time, that I loved him.

And then he began to walk away.

THIS is the worst part of being a mama.

Absolutely.

I tried to get him to turn around for one final wave.

Chicky does this for me.

Not my Rooster.

He just walked.

And he opened the door to his building and was gone.

I managed not to cry in that moment, although my heart was ripped in two.

The Mr. and I turned and walked to the car.

As I sat down and closed the door, the floodgates opened up.

I wanted to run back inside for one last hug.

I couldn’t.

I knew that.

The Mr. drove…

To one of the University’s stores so I could have a bit of retail therapy…

And where we could get some of the famous lemonade from Toomer’s Drugs.

You do realize what I was doing, right?

I was delaying the inevitable…leaving the town that my baby was in.

But leave we did…

Where we passed beautiful rural scenery…

And a thunderstorm, which matched my somber mood…

Unlike two years ago, when I took Chicky for her first year of college, I was returning to a home that would not have one of my babies there.

At least when I had taken Chicky, I knew I’d still have Rooster to love on daily…to invest energy on…to comfort me when the sadness of being without her overwhelmed me.

This time I knew I wouldn’t have that.

Rooster was beginning an adventure that I was not a part of, and I felt left out.

I still feel left out.

But I am happy for him.

We shared a lot of arguments this past year, due to his growing up and away from me.  But, we also shared a deepening relationship as we discussed issues on a more mature level.

I’m going to miss our daily conversations…our time in the evening when we will just sit together in the same room, both perhaps lost in our thoughts but together nonetheless.

It’s hard to know, sometimes, how your children feel about you…especially in light of the arguments you have with them…especially as the time draws nearer for them to leave home.

During the ride home, I saw, on Facebook, that Rooster had changed his profile picture.

He’d changed it to the one I’d just uploaded of the two of us hugging right before we’d left.

Do you know how much that touched my heart?

I cried tears of sadness and tears of joy, and I’m crying right now as I type this.

This child who’d I’d fought with only an hour before we’d left the house on that trip had honored me by using our picture as the one that’s displayed whenever he updates Facebook.

I know that those of you who have already sent your babies to college and have gotten used to the changes in your life must be reading my ramblings and thinking that it will get better.

I do know this.

But that doesn’t make my heart hurt less right now.

I know that I’ll get used to it.

It’s just hard when you’re a mama who has always been so hands-on with her children…not as a way to control them (despite what they might think) but as a way to express your love for them.

Anyhoo, I’ve digressed.

Again.

I love my Rooster, and if he’s reading this, I hope that he knows that my love is deep, and the things I do and the tears I cry are not attempts to hold him back but reflect the joy that being his mama has brought to my life.

I truly am blessed.

I do not know why the Lord chose me to be his mama, but I am humbled, and I am honored.

I never deserved the good things in my life and the wonderful children I bore, but still God blessed me.

I’ll treasure this weekend of taking my youngest to college.  I’m thankful for the experience.  I cannot imagine ever sending one of my children to college to move in by him/herself because to do so would deny me the privilege of hugging a piece of myself one last time before the next part of that person’s journey begins.

And that is what this weekend and, in fact, this time in all of our lives is about…

The start of a new journey.

Rooster, you’re going to have a great four years, I just KNOW it!

I want you to know that I’ll be in the wings, cheering you on, praying for you, every step of the way!!

Rooster Turns 18!

Dear Rooster,

Today you turned 18 years old.

I.  Am.  In.  Shock.

How did this happen?

Didn’t I just bring you home from the hospital, all decked out in your Auburn finery?

You slept from 10pm – 4am the first night you were home, a good sleeper from the get-go…

It didn’t take long for you and Chicky to form a tight sibling bond.  She even taught you the fine art of showing what’s in your mouth while you’re eating…

You liked to wear your food as much as you liked to eat it…

Though you didn’t walk as early as Chicky, you were still up and about well before your first birthday…

You put your good looks to use, easily charming the ladies…especially this one…your Mama…

Oh yes, those tow-headed, blue eyes often conned me into allowing you to get your way…

You were meant to be an Auburn Tiger from the beginning, as evidenced by the attire you came home in to the clothes you’ve proudly worn over the years…

We did buy you other clothes, but your preferred your Auburn gear…

The years flew by, and soon it was time to take you to school for your first day of kindergarten…

Today, on your 18th birthday, you could have walked the stage for your high school graduation.  Though you won’t cross that stage in the made-for-parents event, I celebrate your accomplishments all the same.

Schooling came easily for you.  God blessed you with a keen mind and a quick wit…things that helped you excel in school.

Soon, you’ll be heading to Auburn.  In fact, you receive mail from the school almost daily now…

These envelopes make me tear up every time I pull them from the mailbox.

They are signs, you see, that my sweet, blonde-haired, blue eyed boy will be leaving the nest, the last of my chickies to fly the coop.

You, my dear, have been a dream to parent.

Every time you sat and watched a movie or TV show with me, you banked more Son Points into this heart of mine.

One of the sweetest things you said to me was on my birthday when you told me that you could have gone to a friend’s house, but you chose to stay home since next year you’ll be in school and won’t be able to celebrate with me.

Anyone reading this can see how easy it is to love you.

I’ve been praying for you since before you were born.  Two months on bedrest gave me plenty of time for that.

I’ve been praying for you ever since, and God has been merciful to answer.

You have turned into a fine young man.

You are generous and always eager to lend a friend a hand.

Your gentleness with animals is reciprocated with their tendency to gravitate toward you.

As you begin this new phase of your life, I will continue to pray for you…for a steadfast faith that does not turn away no matter what temptations you may face…for Christian friends to surround you while you’re away from home…for maturity to adjust to the changes before you.

I love you with all of my heart.  You are a blessing to me, and I am honored to be your Mama.

Love,

Mama ♥

Road Trip Full of Memories

Today, Rooster and I returned home from our short road trip to Auburn’s E-Day.  Auburn had set aside the day to showcase its vibrant and nationally-ranked engineering program, of which Rooster will be a part of come August.

We took Rooster’s car so he could get practice making the four-hour drive, and what fun we had.

Here are some brief, yet memorable snippets of our trip…the stuff that memories are made of.

…getting stuck in a gas station’s parking lot, and the only way out was through the 18-wheeler truck exit…oops…

…getting walked in on while taking care of “business” in Subway…the look and sound of surprise from the establishment’s female employee who walked in on me was an America’s Funniest Home Videos moment…

…having a political discussion with my boy who will turn 18 in May and will, thus, be able to vote in November’s election…

…saying Adele’s name wrong, to Rooster’s consternation (for the record, according to Google, you pronounce it “uh-dell”)…

…trying to find a place to make a u-turn on a dark highway…

…forgetting my toothbrush, only to hear Rooster say, “Well, you can’t use mine.”  No love, I’m telling you…

…the next morning, after getting a toothbrush from the hotel and asking Rooster for the toothpaste, hearing him say, “Well, I didn’t bring it, so I didn’t brush my teeth.”  Sometimes, you just can’t win…

…watching America’s Most Wanted with America’s most beloved son (IMHO  😀 )…

…making a three-minute drive into a 20-minute drive, all because we turned right instead of left out of the hotel (it was my fault, of course, according to Rooster)…

…getting asked, by the software engineering professor who gave the presentation to our tour group, “What are YOU majoring in?”  Um…yeah…I think he mistook me for a college student.  😀

…upon discussing the above afterward, hearing my beloved son say, “Well, Mama, you do look young.  It’s no wonder he asked you that.”  😀

…visiting the Honors College and learning that Rooster had been officially accepted into the Honors program!!

…slurping down a cup of Toomer’s Corner’s famous lemonade…

…exiting Toomer’s Drugs to a downpour…all because I HAD to go to Tiger Rags to use the 20% coupon that was in Rooster’s E-Day bag…

…deciding to kill some time…let the rain pass…while eating lunch at Moes…except that Moes wasn’t going to open for another hour.

…walking to “Tiger Rags” only to discover that I’d mistaken its location for that of Anders.  Oops.

…continuing to walk in the downpour…

…watching Rooster fight the wind as he attempted to keep us covered with, in his words, a “crappy” umbrella…

…taking over for Rooster, only to nearly get blown away like Mary Poppins…

…hearing Rooster assure me that he would have tried to grab my legs if I’d actually taken flight (thanks, Honey)…

…watching shuttle after shuttle pass us as we waited to be transported back to our cars…in the driving rain…

…being reminded that it was all my fault that we were standing in the rain…I just HAD to use that coupon…which I never got to use because we ditched our plans to go to the “real” Tiger Rags…

…watching Rooster sleep as I drove the first half of our journey home…I’m going to miss him so much come August…

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