A moleskine page from The Judge's freshman year at MSU
That said, it did make me go and collect my thoughts and write about something that occurred recently. And although not specifically about El Paso nor was the image taken in El Paso, it was created by someone from here; it also tacitly covers issues concerned with education and parenting.
We've been told that The Judge is not the only student from here who currently attends Michigan State, but sometimes it seems she is. However, there are many more students who do leave home every year to attend college away from El Paso. This is something from one parent with one student who has left home for the past four years.
Fall 2009 marked the first year I was unable to go with MJ to take The Judge back to Michigan State University.
The reason was simple. The schedule for MSU differed from that of UTEP as MSU’s fall semester began a week before UTEP; and so, I did not want to miss the first week of graduate school classes and teaching my crucial first week of freshman composition.
The Judge’s freshman year was 2006, a year when both schools had the same schedule outcomes (a week difference when beginning classes.) For that one year, I had been able to pull it off, but this year was a no go. However, with cell phones available for all, it was almost as if I was there with them—almost. Granted, the calls were not as intimate as when I have virtually walked her back from a frat party or accompanied her from the library at 2:00 a.m. EST (midnight here.) I love walking/talking with her this way. The Judge finds herself to be on the phone with one of us a comfort when walking at night. I don’t blame her at all. She believes that if she is on a cell, she is not alone. She feels safe when we talk/walk together like that.
But back to the first move-in chaos of her freshman year. I loved seeing and watching the cars unload the students, their pillows, stuffed animals, their stuff. The frantic, chaotic mess that only occurs when the luggage, t-shirts, jeans, and other priority/ephemeral details of life collides with all other priority/ephemeral details of “the New Roommate.” Not only are the small rooms awash in clothing contained in the luggage bought, there are also boxes, personal items, microwaves, refrigerators, books, iPods, TVs, speakers, and hundreds of tiny girl T-shirts. That year it was all a blurr to me and probably MJ and The Judge; her things seemed to float around and land all over the room and hallway. Now, multiply that by two. And, I know all this sounds terribly bourgeois, and having nothing (at first) to do with studying for a profession, but it is fun and stressful and most of all sad. You are about to leave your kid at school. But this is the fact of it all—least for us each fall in East Lansing, Michigan, those first few days each fall.
Now, I cannot tarry too long with this initial blog post. I must begin posting other things for my classes. However, what I wanted to share was a moleskine page from way back in Fall 2006. It is a list I made of the items we needed to purchase for The Judge before we left her in Michigan and MJ and I returned (as a couple for the first time in decades) to El Paso, Texas. That first year she lived in the high-rise chaos that is Hubbard Hall.