Friday, September 29, 2006

Whatever He Needs...

I spoke to Buster on the phone last night. He is happy and writing his papers and making friends and planning to go to the first home football game tonight. There are a few small tasks his father and I have been expecting him to have taken care of by now, having to do with financial aid and health insurance, that he has neglected to nail down. When I ask him about why the paperwork hasn't been sent in he says "oh yeah, I am going to do that. Tomorrow." And then he changes the subject. Can one nag one's first born long distance on the weekly phone call? Or is there another way to throttle them and make them wake up and smell the coffee? Or is it all up to him now, to do the right thing at the appropriate time???

A friend of mine at school read us this poem the other day. It's about sending your child off to sleep-away camp, but it applies to sending them off to college or anywhere, really. It always makes me cry.

The Summer-Camp Bus Pulls Away from the Curb
-Sharon Olds

Whatever he needs, he has or doesn’t have by now.
Whatever the world is going to do to him
it has started to do. With a pencil and two
Hardy Boys and a peanut butter sandwich and
grapes he is on his way, there is nothing
more we can do for him. Whatever is
stored in his heart, he can use, now.
Whatever he has laid up in his mind he can call on.
What he does not have
he can lack.
The bus gets smaller and smaller, as one
folds a flag at the end of a ceremony,
onto itself, and onto itself, until
only a heavy wedge remains.
Whatever his exuberant soul
can do for him, it is doing right now.
Whatever his arrogance can do
It is doing to him. Everything
that’s been done to him, he will now do.
Everything that’s been placed in him
will come out, now, the contents of a trunk
unpacked and lined up on a bunk in the underpine light.

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Anonymous said...

I've been wondering how he is doing - and how you are doing without him! I'm sure it must be quite a hard transition!

tallulah said...

What a beautiful, beautiful poem.

I was the same way at college...on my own time. Let me get it done when I want to.

That poem resounds with me. So many things we try to instill in our little ones so when the bus arrives..........they know what to do. What is right.

Thank you for sharing.