I am not panicking, I am NOT panicking. But. We have four children who are not going to be coming with us to drop Rob off at college and so we kept a close eye on Rob’s college’s freshman move-in date: we had to know as far ahead of time as possible, so that we could figure out where to PUT all those children.
For months the college website still showed the 2016 information. Then, suddenly, in early July it showed the 2017 information! There it was: the move-in date, and the times: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.! We made a plan to drive up the day before, stay overnight at a motel, drop him off fairly early the next morning, and then drive back home that same day. My brother and sister-in-law agreed to take four (FOUR!) extra children for a day and a half (FOUR!). I immediately phoned and booked our motel, figuring that demand might be high for that date. We were ALL SET.
Then, two days ago, an email from the college: it turns out the check-in time frame is DIVIDED INTO ASSIGNED SEGMENTS. This was not mentioned before. I LOOKED CAREFULLY. IT WAS NOT MENTIONED. IT JUST SAID DROP-OFF WAS 9:00 TO 5:00. Our segment is 12:30-2:30. That…does not work. We need to fit in approximately eight-and-a-half hours of driving (distance between us and my brother/sister-in-law’s house + distance from there to Rob’s college) on that same day, either BEFORE or AFTER the drop-off (and if “before,” we need to change our motel reservation). This is why I had it all planned for an EARLY drop-off: so we could fit this whole thing in and get back at a reasonable time, ideally before my brother and sister-in-law were regretting not only this favor but also their own births.
Well. I have emailed the college. Probably one of fifty thousand emails they are going to receive on this topic. My hope is that however strict they act in the presentation of the schedule and how crucial it is that everyone follow it, their response will be, “Sure, no big!” Surely with families traveling from literally all over the world, they will realize an assigned two-hour window won’t work for everyone. Some people will have FLIGHTS booked. Surely just as we REALLY NEED a drop-off time that is either EARLY or LATE, there are OTHER families who REALLY NEED a mid-day drop-off time, and it will all work out. Surely.
And if they WON’T bend, they are making things so unnecessarily stressful for already-stressed parents of freshmen, it’s hard to believe this would be their established plan, and it would considerably affect my feelings about them. But the first-semester payment has already been made, so we have Plan B1 and Plan B2. Plan B1 is Paul’s idea, which is that in situations like this, you just show up at the time that works well for you and you shrug off the disapproval. “Sorry, I didn’t realize we weren’t supposed to be here for four more hours, but we’re here now and we’ve got to get back to our other kids, so…*deposits student and all his stuff on the lawn*.” This is not a plan I feel I can psychologically handle.
I don’t know how Paul and I were both firstborns and yet he lacks the stereotypical firstborn respect for authority and rules. I think the difference is that he was raised as an Indulged Male. Over the years I have thought repeatedly of a story his mother told me, about how she’d tell him to go mow the lawn, and he’d mow for a little while and then she’d find him inside reading a book. And here is the part of the story that makes me feel lightheaded: SO SHE WOULD ROLL HER EYES AND GO FINISH THE LAWN FOR HIM. I will pause to let you really let this sink in.
She told me this story with fond, proud exasperation. Do you know that tone? Like when a parent is pretending to complain, but they’re actually bragging. Anyway. I think of her when I wonder why Paul is the way he is.
Where was I? Oh yes: Plan B2 is my plan. I don’t know why I’m calling it B2 when it should be B1. In fact, it’s B. Paul’s plan is C now. Or D. Let’s just call it Plan P. My plan is we suck it up and do it how the college wants us to: it’ll be one inconvenient day and then it’ll be over. We’ll drop him off right at 12:30 and we’ll leave when that’s done, and we’ll drive late into the night and we’ll pick up the kids very late and we’ll drive the rest of the way very late, and everyone will be tired the next day, and then some of us will take naps and some of us will just be cranky, and then the day after that everything will be normal again except for my lingering simmering resentment.
…Paul and I are evidently thinking about the same thing this morning, because while I’ve been criticizing his upbringing and dissing his mother, he’s been researching a Reddit forum dedicated to questions about this particular college. He just sent me an email with a screenshot of a question about the move-in times, and the answer is that the schedule is really just a suggestion in order to keep everyone from showing up at the same time, and that nobody cares if you come at a different time. Well.
…Oh, and here is a email reply from the college to me, saying the times are flexible and students can check in any time. Well. Well. Good thing I did not panic.