*Houston, we have lift off!

I didn’t want to say anything too soon but “Houston, we have lift off!”

DinnerWithMyBoysYesterday, 8/19, was move in day at Lenoir-Rhyne University for Marty. Vic, Marty and I drove up to Hickory on Thursday. Move in started at 8am on Friday and we didn’t want to have to make the 3 hour drive immediately prior to that. We settled into a hotel room and then had dinner at the Kobe Japanese Steak House. The hotel was nice, but none of us slept well that night. For Marty, I am sure it was just normal pre-college jitters. Hell, I remember the night before I started college and I barely slept at all either. Vic’s allergies have been destroying his sleep. And me, well I was having the most bizarre dreams. I kept dreaming that a **91 yr old lady was a member of Marty’s freshmen class and that a non-existent storage company lost all of Marty’s stuff.

IsenhourDespite all that, we manage to get up Friday morning and made it over to Lenoir-Rhyne around 9:30. I think the delay paid off. There were a ton of upperclassmen outside of Isenhour Hall waiting to help everyone move in. They were all thrilled that Marty’s room was on the first floor…guess they were tired of  going up stairs. While we were setting up Marty’s room Dean of Students, Katie Fisher, stopped by to welcome him back. Dean Fisher was one of the wonderful staff members that helped Marty out last year and she commented on how much better and more relaxed he looked this year. I was so glad that someone else was seeing the improvement Vic and I saw. MartysRoom MartysRoom2 MartysRoom3 R2D2PikachuOnce we had Marty’s room set up, we had just enough time to get lunch and stock his dorm fridge before it was time to part ways. We got juice and yogurt and crackers and soup to go along with the roughly 6 dozen cookies I had baked him.

Unlike last year, there was no growing tension as we got closer to the time for Marty to go his way and us to go ours. We headed our from his dorm towards the meeting locations and I asked Marty if he wanted us to wait while he checked if he had the right location. Marty said “Only if you want.” Honestly, I was and am so proud. He truly has managed to make anxiety his bitch. He stomped it down, got it under control, and, now he’s living his life. I am so thrilled for him. I am very hopeful that the only things that will cause a “Houston, we’ve got a problem call” will be normal everyday things, not anxiety driven ones.

We have a college student now!

 

 

*My thanks to Dean Fisher and the people of NASA for the use of this line.

**It wasn’t until we were on the way home that we figured out where the 91 yr old woman in my dreams came from. As I was falling asleep on Thursday, Vic was watching the end of Deadpool. There is a line that Deadpool says about living with a blind 91 yr old woman. I guess my brain registered that and inserted her into my dreams.

Kvelling

image It has been almost a year since I last posted and I am a little ashamed. There have been so many things I should have bragged about but I kept getting bogged down in the details of every day life.

When I last wrote, Vic and I had dropped Marty off at Lenoir-Rhyne for his first year of college. If you read back then, you might remember that it was a rough moment (or two or three rough moments). Unfortunately, that first attempt at college was short circuited by a crippling anxiety attack. As bad as the situation was, I was so proud of how Marty handled it. He advocated for himself. He arranged for a medical deferral. And, he came home prepared to make the OCD/anxiety his bitch instead of letting it continue to ride roughshod over him.

Over the last year, Marty truly has taken charge of the OCD/anxiety. He has developed tons of coping mechanisms and he no longer lets it rule his life. Sure, we might need to buy stock in a medical glove company and a spare vat of rubbing alcohol might be a welcome addition to our arsenal but, those are just tools he uses to manage stuff. My boy went from being so overwhelmed at the thought of managing day to day events on his own to being excited about college. Marty has conquered his germaphobia and is able to do his own laundry, clean his own bathroom, and even plunge a toilet. I wasn’t too popular when I insisted he learn that last one but he did it. Marty also volunteered at Dorcas Shop, a local thrift store. Through this, he was able to realize that it was ok to get dirty and he could just clean himself when he got home.

For those of you who have never dealt with OCD or anxiety disorders, these may not seem like big things but they are. They are HUGE accomplishments.  See, there was never any question that Marty was and is smart enough to kick ass at college. The only question was what he needed to do to overcome the anxiety and the OCD induced germaphobia and how long it would take. Marty was determined to beat this and get back up to school. Through the wonders of modern pharmaceuticals and a lot of hard work on his part, he has done it.

So, tomorrow we head back up to Hickory and Friday is move in day for the Class of 2020. My boy will be there and I couldn’t be more proud!image

 

When a Good Parent has to be a Bad Guy

MartyTheThinkerI have never been more proud of my oldest son, Marty, than I am right now…but, to reach this point, I had to do the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  This is not me speaking metaphorically.  This is the literal truth.  Today, I had to turn my back on my son when he was saying he needed me.

As many of you know, my oldest, Marty was diagnosed with OCD last year.  What many people don’t realize is that OCD is an anxiety disorder.  What is a simple bump in the road for you or me might seem like an insurmountable challenge to someone with OCD.  To put it simply, when anxiety takes hold, a sufferer can lose all belief in their ability to overcome the latest challenge.  It is not rational.  It is not fair.  And, it sucks to see your kid go through it.

Today, we helped Marty move into his room at Lenoir-Rhyne to start his freshmen year of college.  We did everything right helping Marty to prepare for this change.  He worked with a counselor. He has all the supplies he needs. He can have a successful year at college.  But there is no denying that a life change of this magnitude is stressful for anyone…let alone someone with OCD.  The closer it got to time for us to go, the tighter wound he became.  We ended up heading over to the counseling center so he could get some help getting through the panic he was feeling.  Marty begged us to come home.

I knew it was the anxiety and panic talking.  I also knew that Marty has the skills to have a successful year at school.  To enable him to do that, Vic and I had to look him in the eye, tell him that we love him but we weren’t bringing him home, and we had to turn our backs and walk away.  I knew I was leaving him in good hands.  The counselor was sharp and she was committed to getting him through this.  Despite all that, I have never felt more horrible and have never felt more like I was deserting my child.  To put it bluntly, it SUCKED.

I stressed the whole way home…and it turned out to all be for nothing.  By the time we got home to Cary, we had a phone call from Marty.  If you didn’t know what he had been through, you would have thought he hadn’t a care in the world.  I know he is still stressed and anxious but he said that if he can make it to this time next week without a major meltdown then he thinks he can do it.

I have never been more proud of him and the resilience he is showing.  I love you Marty and I can see great things happening for you.

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The Start of a New Adventure

MartyYesterday was a busy day.  We packed up all Marty’s stuff…his clothes, his books, even his few stuffed animals.  Today, we left Cary with Marty and a van full of stuff to get him started on his new adventure.  Tomorrow, Marty moves into his dorm room at Lenoir-Rhyne.

I am so thrilled and excited for him. L-R is going to hold so many fabulous adventures for him and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for him.  I am so very proud of the strength and determination he has shown this past year.  He told me “I’ve missed out on so many things.  I refuse to miss out on college.”  And, he did it.  He not only made it through high school but he did well enough with grades and test scores that he has an academic scholarship.  I know I’m repeating myself but I am incredibly proud of him.  That said, I am going to miss the hell out of him.

As an 18th birthday/leaving for college present, I made him a t-shirt quilt.  The center of the quilt is a nice cream colored cotton and it has messages from every friend and family member that was at his birthday party back in February.  It is surrounded by the backs and fronts of t-shirt from the important events through high school. I hope whenever he sees his quilt, he knows how much we all love him.

Quilt3 Quilt1 MartyAndQuilt

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Take Charge

LR_TakeChargeI have so many thoughts and feelings swirling through my head as we get ready to drop Marty off for his first year of college.  First and foremost is “Holy shit…where did 18 yrs go?”  Yeah, really.  That is what I am thinking.  I remember when he was little enough to be held in one arm and now he doesn’t really need any holding at all.

Second, I have a sense of relief.  Marty has been through so much with his health challenges and the emergence of his OCD.  It is truly a relief to realize that he has overcome these challenges to a level where he won’t just survive in college but he has overcome to a level where I truly believe he will thrive.  I must admit that a small amount of the relief I am feeling is personal relief because helping him learn to cope with his OCD has taken a huge amount of time and effort from me…and, then I feel a little guilty because I’m feeling relief over his leaving for college…aren’t I just suppose to miss him?

I also feel proud.  Proud of Marty and the young man he has become.  Proud  of the whole family because we haven’t let life’s challenges derail our growth or our ability to love one another.  Gabe definitely isn’t ready to have his big brother leave.

I have constant checklists running through my head.  Lists of school supplies, lists of dorm room supplies, and lists of personal fill every square inch of my brain.  And, of course, in addition to all the normal stuff, I have the lists of OCD/germaphobia coping materials running through it all…cleaning supplies, latex gloves, etc.  I remember shopping for college stuff with my mom but I certainly don’t remember the myriad of details that seem to be crowding every corner of my brain.  It is kind of overwhelming trying to go through the lists of the necessities of life (with lots of help from Marty, of course).  I know he isn’t going to college in outer Mongolia.  I know he is only going to be three hours away.  I know there is a store in walking distance of campus and, if push comes to shove, Amazon can get it there in 2 days. But, it’s not easy to be logical and rational when it’s your oldest baby going off to college.

I also feel a great sense of pride, security, and satisfaction when I think about where he is going to be going to school.  Lenoir-Rhyne is a great school.  I have every confidence that he will come out of there with an education that will let him pursue his dreams.  It also makes me extremely proud that Marty selected a school that will nurture his faith while exposing him to a diverse student body at the same time.  The sense of security comes from the fact that L-R is a small school.  It is small enough that if you need to contact the main university office, they will recognize your student’s name.  It truly is a school where you are NOT a number.

Despite feeling the trepidation all parents feel when their oldest goes off to school, I truly believe Lenoir-Rhyne is a school that will allow Marty to grow and learn and thrive.  I believe it will allow him the chance to explore his passions and to truly figure out what he wants to do with his life.  I truly believe it is a community that will give him the security he needs to take risks and the resources he needs to pick himself up and keep going if any of those risk turn into stumbling blocks.  L-R will let him take charge of his life and his future.

What more can any parent ask for?