My daughter is finally at college. As I noted, her experience this autumn was delayed by COVID, first hers, then mine, then my wife’s. The initial protocol for her to start college was for her to wait five days from her onset. But with her parents contracting the disease at her domicile, this meant waiting an additional five days.
So instead of arriving on August 25 for a week of orientation before classes began on August 31, we were instructed to arrive on September 5, Labor Day, three days after classes had started.
Yet we were promised a call back from the college closer to our departure date. It never happened. On the morning of the fifth, we headed toward campus. While my wife drove, I called every office on the college phone menu. One choice failed to transfer properly. The only one I reached was campus security, which was not helpful to the task at hand.
We arrived at her dormitory. My daughter and I found a couple of people in an office, and I told them our tale of woe. One of them listened attentively, then told us that it was their first day on the job. But they called someone who had access to my daughter’s room key. The three employees, my daughter, and I unloaded the car.
I neglected to mention that, as of Labor Day morning, my wife was STILL testing positive for COVID, even though my daughter and I had tested negative; first, my daughter, then me on September 2.
After unloading, we went out to eat. Then we returned, and the three of us made my daughter’s bed and moved around a couple of pieces of furniture in her tiny room.
At that point, the vibe was clear. “Thank you, parents. You can now leave.” And so we did.
The following weekend at church, no fewer than a dozen people, upon hearing that our daughter was finally at college, asked, “How is she doing?” My answer was always some variation of “How do I know.”
I messaged her that first week and told her that we were there to help her if she needed us but that we didn’t want to bug her. She wrote back: “Uh huh,” which I took to mean, “Noted.”
She did call me on the Thursday of the first week at 10 p.m. I knew she was calling me because my wife’s almost always in bed by that hour. She wanted a clarification of a book footnote, which I provided. This let me know she was actually reading an assignment, which was some comfort.
Then the following week, she called her mother. They spoke for nearly an hour. So it’s all good.