Tuesday, January 12, 2016

It is important to find your people.

When the triplets were looking at colleges, I just kept saying "please, go where we have people." I didn't want to limit them to driving distance from me. But I also didn't want to see them somewhere where it would take double-digit hours for a loved one to get to them in case of emergency. Our world is colored different than most, remember.

When all three fell in love with schools in Mississippi, I confess that my heart soared. And yet, even I underestimated the value of being within arms reach of each other.

Never have these three been apart. Not really.

When they expressed loneliness in those early weeks of first semester I tried to encourage them. First semester is chocked full of adjustments, I said. And being away from home tops the list. It is huge. I repeated and repeated.

I received more than one of those phone calls before it hit me: Of course they were lonely. Good grief. These three finish each other's sentences. They shared a womb. They shared cribs. They shared every single toy every purchased (Except when the "first day, you don't have to share" rule was invoked.). They had never been where other people close by to them didn't understand their innermost thoughts -- and share them for the most part. They are triplets. Of course, three different colleges felt lonely.

Mason was the last one home from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit when they were born. He was barely four pounds the day he came home. It was still a week before his due date. And yet, when we placed him in a crib between Benjamin and Claire he laughed out loud! And then kept smiling as he looked from one to the other as if to say "I had been missing them!" It was beautiful.

Mason was also the one who was crying uncontrollably right before his first birthday when we traveled to Tupelo for the first time. I couldn't do anything to help. Claire -- sitting in her high chair between Benjamin and Mason -- reached over and touched him and said something totally unrecognizable to me but Mason smiled at her and quit crying. The three just sat -- each boy holding onto Claire's outstretched hands -- for the longest time, perfectly content.

So yes, the transition to meeting new people has been wonderful and yet, being away from their people has been a challenge. Having the ability to get to each other on the weekend has been huge. And so I am thankful that God directed their paths this way.

Having said that, it is a beautiful thing to see relationships developing on their respective campuses.

Benjamin says Phil Collins' song "Easy Lover" is our theme song. He thinks it is hilarious. Because of course, it is a reminder that Mom sometimes gets her tongue completely twisted around upside and  backwards! In one of our discussions about last semester he was sharing that he isn't sure if his new friends like him yet as much as he likes them. I immediately went into pep talk mode and in an attempt to remind him that he and I (and his siblings) tend to love people easily and quickly I said "You know, we are easy lovers."  To which he busted out laughing. And I quickly tried to switch around to "I mean, we love easily".....good grief.

Now we have theme song at least.

Benjamin and his cast from "Ghost Stories of Mississippi".

Both Mason and Claire went through Rush in the fall. I trusted the rush at Mississippi College where the girls pledge "social tribes" not sororities to be kinder and gentler for my girl. And for the most part, it was. She found a sweet place to be and I loved the glee-filled pictures of her on "squeal day."

But Mason and fraternity rush at Millsaps was a different story. I was a mess the week of rush. I had to suppress a strong need to take my books on Cerebral Palsy and go do an educational lecture at each fraternity. I wanted them to know that he is an amazing young man. I wanted to tell them that even though he is using an electric scooter to get around campus, he has always only used crutches to ambulate. I wanted to tell them that he has to overcome so much every single day. I wanted them to see videos of his theatre productions, his graduation speech (Have YOU seen that? You can click here to watch now!) . I wanted them to KNOW him.

I wanted to ensure they saw past his disability to his many many abilities.

In reality, I am probably the only one that needed the lecture. Because even without all that (all that interference from Mom that COULD have been but wasn't!), Mason received the bid of his choice -- Lambda Chi Alpha.

And as if to underscore how accepting this group of young men are....how vividly they recognize the abilities of my son.....on bid night, one of Lambda Chi's leaders urged Mason to hang back as the other members raced into the fraternity house courtyard. After they had all passed, this new friend jumped on the back of Mason's electric scooter and told him to GO...and these two triumphantly roared into the middle of the courtyard (as fast as the scooter can race) with letter jerseys flying in what was described to me as a glorious entry filled with thunderous applause, screams and shouts!

I wish I had been a fly on the wall.

No doubt transitioning back this week will take some getting used to. We spent the break fairly on top of each other squeezed into hotel rooms and ship cabins. It was wondrous.

But I am praying that just as I embrace joy for 2016, these three amazing college students will embrace new friendships, new experiences and the opportunities God places in front of them.

And then when they come home I'll have Phil Collins playing in the background with arms opened wide.

Carol - The Blessings Counter