Saturday, September 7, 2013

A New Chapter

This past weekend we traveled to New Haven, Ct. to help settle Remick into college. The trip was full of so many blessings, adventures, misadventures and life lessons, not the least of which was how to travel across country with the sum total of your son's 19 years packed into 4 large, somewhat cumbersome and heavy boxes. We could have been the sequel for the movie "Planes, Trains and automobiles!" It promised to be a great trip when we were fortunate enough to score the exit row (well, except for the fact that I got the middle seat). Not so promising when our flight was delayed 2 hours, putting us into Newark at 11:30 pm.

Mistake #1: Keith did not believe me when I told him our boxes (aka - Remick's life)  would probably be at the oversize luggage desk.. So....we waited for at least 20 minutes by baggage claim. In the interim, I decided to go to the ladies room.

Mistake #2: Attempting to use an airport restroom when nazi/janitor lady is cleaning. As I was skulking back to baggage claim (with a full bladder), coming down the escalator, what do I spy to the right, at the,  "Oversize Baggage Claim" - our boxes! Imagine that? Hmm, do I dare say "I told you so" or do I zip my lip and be gracious - fortunately I chose the latter and instead,  retrieved a very impatient (no fault of mine) husband and said "follow me".

Mistake #3 - Don't tie the rope so tight on the boxes that the box splits and items spill out.  Are you getting a sense here of just how comical this is becoming.

Mistake #4 - Don't listen to your wife when she tells you that the train to the rental cars is "this way". He had to prove it to himself by walking all the way down the terminal to ask at the rental car counter, only to return to me, point at the very same sign that I indicated to him, and say, "we have to go up here" Really, are you sure? Because I'm almost positive you shot me down on that just 5 minutes ago!"

Mistake #5 Assuming that transportation to the rental car pick up would be a simple process. Apparently, which wasn't apparent to anyone unless you had inside knowledge of the inner workings of the Newark airport maintenance department, one line of trains is shut down at 12:00 am for repairs. (Maybe if we hadn't spent 30 unnecessary minutes at baggage claim we could have made it before our next little snafu - I'm just saying) I should have taken a video, because to attempt to describe the chaos that ensued for the next 20 minutes will be almost impossible. They don't call them high speed trains for nothing!
The train whips in, passengers attempt to disembark, while others attempt to get on.
Nope, doesn't work like that.
Not even close.
Passengers have a total of 5.1 seconds to disembark and reload before the door slams shut, cutting in half anything that is in the way - including appendages.
I'm not kidding. In a scene straight from a John Candy movie - a woman got on, doors slammed shut, husband still on platform, train shoots out of station while she is slamming her hands and face against the window to be let off - too late - gone. Bewildered husband left behind. Even more hilarious is the fact that she was indeed on the wrong train.

6 minutes later, same scene, different train, train arrives, people disembark (barely) no one has time to get on, door slams shut, train shoots out of station, young lady beside me with an expression of complete astonishment and confusion looks at me and says, "I don't even know what just happened there." To which I look at Keith and say "I don't know what is going on but that is not happening to us so be aggressive!"

6 minutes later - Train arrives, people get off - all except one passenger who looks around, confused and says "Is this the last stop" to which Keith screams (I'm not exaggerating) "YES, GET OFF!" and proceeds to ram his way on (baggage cart and all) - no worries - I'm right behind him. Next stop - rental car pick up.

Mistake #6 Not being familiar with the car you are driving. 20 minutes down the freeway - in NY City mind you, semi truck thunders past with driver hanging out the window screaming expletives, gesticulating wildly with his middle finger and raining down curses on us. If it hadn't been 1:30 AM at this point, I might have reacted differently - probably a good thing I didn't - but I calmly looked over at Keith and said, "Hmm, do you have your lights on?"
"Of Course I do." in an irritated, how dumb do you think I am voice.
10 minutes more down the road:
"I think I have them on. Do I?"
No words...I'm kind of numb at this point
He pulls off onto the shoulder, checks lights - sure enough - not on. Super neat. need.

We did finally reach New Haven and fall into bed at 3 AM, only to be up again at 6 AM - keep in mind, there is a 3 hour time difference so it was really 3 AM for us West Coast folk. We were eager to go and watch practice - imagine, Keith wanting to watch practice. We could not have wiped the grins off of our faces with a scrub brush - finally - after 4 years of agonizing High School ball, we were witnessing a real team, with real coaching, committed players, and a grueling practice - "football as it should be" to quote Remick. He was thrilled and so were we. Remick had paid his dues and he deserved every bit of this.

One minute I was wallowing around in that pit of parental pride, incredulous that Remick was here, sporting the Yale navy and white,

And the next minute we were here:

Left wondering how it happened, and leaving us with that feeling of weightlessness after having the carpet ripped out from under us, not to mention our hearts bleeding and broken on that same carpet! We did not see this coming but then who ever does? What athlete approaches their career with the attitude that they will be injured? It's just not productive - then again, maybe they should. I don't have the answer, but what I do know is that Remick is not the first athlete to suffer injury and he most assuredly won't be the last. He is also no stranger to injury - two shoulder surgeries and countless concussions and sprained ankles, he knows what it looks, and feels like. All the same, this was devastating. I'll spare you the details of our grief - suffice it to say, we wallowed for a bit. It was very clear to me that we needed to get a grip on the situation before it had a strangle hold on us! I really don't know how those without faith or belief in the Almighty, handle life's difficulties without collapsing.  Without it I couldn't, nor would I want to. 

God's ways are not our ways. And while we may have a pretty definitive idea of where we would like to see life headed, and even have the audacity to assume control over the forward momentum - we do not!!! Clearly, it wasn't in God's play book (pun intended) to place Remick on the field this season. He has a much bigger, exciting role for Rem this fall. I haven't a clue what that will look like, but I do have a pretty good idea what it will be about. Whatever God has him doing, I am excited to see it unfold. And so I counselled my son to use this time to be available for whatever the Lord would have him do. I am proud, and once again humbled to witness the willingness with which Remick embraces whatever life throws at him. 

To be sure, Remick is after all, still a student at Yale University! In the words of Yale President, Peter Salovey, "Behind every Yale Freshman is a stunned parent!"  What an amazing institution, with incredible opportunities that most only dream of.   

Yale has a lot to offer. Not the least of which is the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. I could spend days here.

Even the design is something to see.

Over a million volumes in here people!

The Gutenberg Bible! Yale has 2!

Then there is this:

Pepe's Pizzeria
The best Pizza I have ever tasted.

and this:

Bacon/caramel corn - because everything is better with a little bacon.

I have taken it on the chin plenty of times for "allowing" my son to attend such a liberal institution as Yale. Really? Sure, schools such as Yale define what it means have a liberal mindset - it oozes out of every brick of this hallowed school. Just in case you don't believe me, this is what was duct taped to the wall of Remick's dormitory hallway.

Super classy, I know. This is how the academic elite view being responsible. After all, we wouldn't want any scandalous, unplanned pregnancies marring their reputation. While I could be worried over this, dwelling on the negative, I prefer to see this an opportunity for God to work through Remick to accomplish His purpose. Life is rarely neat and tidy, nor  does it play out the way we think it should. Never in my wildest imagination would I have seen Remick at Yale, but God has other plans that don't jive with ours very often. Do I as a mother live in fear, or do I loosen my grip and let God do what He does best. When I truly let go, embrace who I know God to be, and look forward expectantly for what the future holds for Remick, I get excited.   The sum of our experiences is never just about us personally as much as it is about how others view our response to those experiences. It is in the messiness of life that we truly find out who we really are. And if we allow God to accomplish His work through our brokenness, something beautiful happens and we are a more complete person because of it.

Sure, I'm going to miss his athleticism on the field this year, but I know he will make me proud regardless.

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