Monday, August 25, 2008

Night Life and Nightlights

For weeks, I checked and rechecked the lists of what No. 2 son should take to college. So it came as quite a surprise when he insisted I take home one of the items we’d just schlepped 600 miles.

It seems that in the flurry of moving him into his dorm room, he hadn’t noticed everything I helped him unpack and put away – until later when he was hanging out in his new quarters with a group of kids he’d just met.

“Hey, I like your nightlight,” one of them reportedly said.

“Whaaaaaat?” he claims he replied.

When his new friend pointed out the simple LED apparatus I’d left plugged into the wall, my son jumped up and yanked it out. He did not share with me what he told his guests. (He hadn’t noticed before because the energy-efficient light only goes on when the room gets dark.) I’m not sure I want to know what he said but I can imagine – this is the child who chose the password “crazymom” for me.

When we arrived the next morning to take him to brunch before heading back to New Hampshire, he tossed the nightlight into my purse and said, “The nightlight thing is NOT working for me. You HAVE to take it home.”

I was confused. I told him he'd appreciate it when either he or one of his roommates came back at night and one of them was in bed. “This way no one has to turn on the overhead light and wake anyone up,” I added with my biggest Mom-knows-best smile.

He looked at me as if I had just arrived from another planet (a look I’ve become all too familiar with, I might add). Just then his older brother jumped into the fray and slapped open his cell phone. “THIS is what college students use to find their way in the dark, Mom,” explained No. 1 son. “They don’t use nightlights, they use the light from their cell phones.”


It appears that once again, college is going to be an educational experience for Mom, too. After doing the university thing with No. 1 son, I probably ought to be worrying more about night life than nightlights.

At least I've given my children one more thing to add to their list of ways I embarrass them. I wonder if they'll ever give up hope that I'll see the light. Wait a minute: I think I still have one in my purse....


AliasMo said...

We dropped our son off Saturday, and there has been a thundering silence since. The college year begins officially this afternoon with a convocation and reception primarily for faculty and students, but families are welcome. We have sent e-mails and left voice-mail messages asking Tim if we should be there. We're only 30 minutes away. I think we know how to interpret No Reply.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

My mom still hasn't forgiven me. My parents bought me a raft of Villager and Pendleton clothes to go off to college. I selected one heather blue skirt and sweater to keep, wore it every day, and then almost immediately started sellng all the rest of the outfits--and used the money to buy records..

Mom still talks about "that beautiful red and black plaid jumper.."