college freshman reboot

Today was Tommy’s first day at Pellissippi State. We’re treating it like his freshman year of college, even though he spent a year at LMU. Well, Tommy is treating it like his freshman year. Everyone else in the family is prepared for one very exhausting semester of push, push, pushing Tommy to act like a student. Last year, Tommy ended up hiding in his dorm room all day and playing video games all night with the other not-going-to-class freshmen. It was a very expensive year of the summer camp Tommy never experienced. Tommy made friends and had a great time. I saved a message in my phone from one of the many days when I sent him a message to check on him. “I’m good. Normal. Happy.” He was happy because he was hiding in his room instead of going to class. This summer, he spent an entire day at Vocational Rehabilitation for aptitude/career testing. The results said he would be good at picking locks. Umm, I don’t think so. So, we’re trying college again with a much, much shorter umbilical cord.

During registration, Tommy constantly pointed out the students that he recognized from his high school. After freshman orientation, he told me a dozen things that his guide had told him about the school. When we met with disability services, baby geese waddled by the office window. All last week, we talked about being a good student. Last night, he went to bed early. This morning, he got up and ate breakfast cheerfully. Everything looked promising. After dropping Tommy off for his not too early 9:30 class, Doug and I tersely snapped at each other all day.

I picked Sarah up at the high school and headed to pick Tommy up from the college. Sarah was in an unusually good mood and her details about her day distracted me from my anxiety. We arrived on campus and Tommy texted that he didn’t want my help in the bookstore. I understood that, but sent Sarah in to check on him. They returned to the car and I asked Tommy to tell me about his day. Tommy talked the entire ride home. He told Sarah and I ALL about the cafeteria choices and the quality of the food. It did not fill me with confidence.

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