The Right Tools and the Right Folks

You would think with all my lists and planning and washing and packing and thinking and not sleeping and planning some more that I would not have forgotten anything.

I mean, I worked to give my oldest all the mental and emotional tools I thought she’d need to make this transition and be okay, better than okay.  As we’ve prepared and packed for college, I hope I put kindness and compassion and listening and strength and passion and faith and so much more in her carry-on of character.  Only time will tell what kind of job I did, I suppose.  But today, I found out that those aren’t the only tools she will need.

Practicality, one.

‘Dre, zero.

It was one thing or another, who remembers now, that needed a screwdriver.  And WE did NOT have one.  My Daddy would be so disappointed.  So would my cousin who came over to teach our girl about the most important things she needed to know for caring for her car.  I bet he would have had one on him.  I’m just sayin’.  Everything we needed the other day, he either had on him or in his truck.  (And he’s not a mechanic by trade.)  But I think the most disappointed would have been my Great Uncle.

Mama used to quote him, “Well as Uncle Ray would say, ‘The right tool for the job can make anything easy.  Or at least a whole lot easier.'”

And that is usually the case.

After we all unloaded and unpacked, I went to the local stuff mart to get stuff on our “oh you just thought you had your act together, Tara, but look at what you forgot” list.  It wasn’t horribly long, and in my defense, there were some things that just couldn’t be anticipated.  But yeah, some could.  And yes, I forgot the tissues for a second time.  So that first-year student carrying around a roll of toilet paper for wiping tears and blowing her nose?  Yep, that’s my girl!  We are nothing if not resourceful.  Ahem.  (Note to self:  Let’s try the old third time’s a charm and get it this time, okay?)

And in my searching for picture hangers (isn’t that the official name?) and a hammer and an all-purpose tool or a screwdriver, I found this.

I mean, some of this stuff, I don't even know, but it's got to be important.  This was the DELUXE kit.
I mean, some of this stuff, I don’t even know, but it’s got to be important. This was the DELUXE kit.

Y’all.  For the win, right?  I mean, there’s stuff in there I don’t even know what it’s for, but it has to be handy, don’t you think?  And it all came inside a lovely purple and grey canvas toolbox. (Can I call it a box if it’s canvas?)  I think I have found my new gift for…..well everyone.  I mean if you’re caring and compassionate and a great listener but you don’t have a screwdriver or hammer to your name…..well, we might have to rethink just how wonderful you are.

Just kidding.  But it is my hope that my girl will be able to be helpful and share this with those who need it and that this will go to her first house with her, where I am SURE she will need it.  Everyone needs a pair of channel changers, right?

So today I learned a lesson about being practical as well as philosophical in what I send my child out into the world with.  There will be some days that the practical will be way more important.  Like today.

And I also learned that while I know what my Daddy meant when he said almost eighteen years ago, “Ain’t nobody gonna help you raise this young’un,” today was the exception to that.  I’ve shared before about folks not setting good examples and what society deems “appropriate” and things like that–none of which make it easy to raise up a child. But today once again, I saw he could be mistaken.  Today friends were a huge part of my girl’s journey.  The love and caring that they shared with her and with my family today–you can’t buy that kind of friendship.  It’s a gift.  A gift of strength (hauling things up two flights of stairs–so thankful) and holding it together in the face of tears.  A gift of laughter (if you’ve never seen a big football player sitting on a color coordinated bed in a women’s dorm, I’m sorry, you’ve just missed out people).  A gift of stepping outside of the box and ingenuity (asking total strangers for a screwdriver for a child that isn’t your own; sitting in a van when it’s pouring down rain watching Gilligan with the littles *sigh*).  A gift of companionship (sticking it out and changing plans you might have had).  A gift of compassion (listening, sitting in the dark with someone, walking through the rain with them).  A gift of patience (my littles, long rainy day, ’nuff said).  A gift of shared joy (being there at the start of our girl’s journey and helping her get started).  A gift of caring (texting and calling and checking in to see how the new college student AND her Mama were getting along).  We are so lucky to have the kind of friends and family many folks only hope for.

This momentous day has been about the right tools and the right folks in our lives.  One you can find at the stuff mart for a price and the other is priceless.  Tonight I hope my girl and all of her classmates sleep well in their new home–tucked away under bedding that expresses each one’s personality or preferences.  And if they need to sniffle or cry a bit, I hope there’s at least an extra roll of toilet paper close by for them to use.  Most of all, I hope each one goes to sleep knowing how much she is loved–by friends and family.

Sweet dreams, Aub.  I love you.  And as Maemae would say, “Happy pink and blue dreams.”  And if you have trouble falling asleep, count your friends.  That will take you longer than it possibly could to fall asleep.  They outnumber the stars I think.  ❤ –‘Dre

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