We dropped Zac off at college this weekend. All the parent orientation sessions – and there were several – spoke of community and love. Your son or daughter won’t fall through the cracks, they said over and over. How that comforted this anxious mother’s heart. Heck, I wanted to attend Concordia. It seems such a safe place to question, think and grow. Plus, no dress code.
Of course, all that kindness and care isn’t cheap. It ended up costing us a bit more, even after tuition remission. We picked up hand towels and hand soap and a desk lamp. We drove past mom mom’s old house on Ainsworth, right in the Concordia neighborhood. We found our old red house on Killingsworth, now with 6-foot fence and overgrown shrubbery. Zac lived there for 3 years. He played soccer in the grassy backyard and nibbled blueberries, staining his face blue. We bought soap and mechanical pencils and spiral notebooks. We ate Pizzicato pizza and bought $800 worth of textbooks for $400 (thanks, Powell’s!). Sticker shock dulled some of the impending sadness of leaving Zac behind.
Zac, for his part, was nervous. He chattered about the lack of trucks in Portland. “Where are they?” he wondered. We told him Portland’s bent is less truck-centric, at least in the city limits. He marveled at traffic and the price of homes.
“I can’t believe that this little house is $650,000,” he said of a one-story home on a slightly larger corner lot in a desirable neighborhood. Location, location, location still holds true, especially in Portland.
We explored the dorm with him. The high-efficiency laundry room held a dozen behemoth washing machines and 8 dryers. I looked for the slot to insert quarters. The machines take debit and credit cards now. It’s 75 cents to wash and 50 cents to dry. Times have changed, and washing clothes no longer takes change.
We hung around as long as we could, attended all the meetings. We drove Zac to pick up a few more necessities. Finally, we took photos outside his hall.
We hugged and told him we were proud of him. Then we drove away. He’s never been away from us except for a short stint in 5th grade outdoor school. He has a steep learning curve ahead. It’s time for independence, sweet boy. You got this.