Our daughter Grace is doing very well at college. To no ones surprise she is handling things with cheerfulness and above all, quiet confidence. She enjoys her classes, has a pet fish named Snape, recently got a care package from her boyfriend, joined the volleyball team, has time to read her favorite books, was asked to volunteer once a week as a student editor in the english department, and has had achieved high grades on her writing. She is a secondary English education major.
She is attending a Christian university in Pennsylvania and before she left I told her it would be the most wonderful experience…..to be surrounded by classmates and teachers with the same foundational beliefs. There are still many many differences in personalities and non-essential beliefs (which is a good and wonderful thing) but to be with so many others who first and foremost love Jesus….wow what a blessing. She is learning so much.
I knew she would love it because before Rich and I were married I was able to squeeze in one year of Bible college at a local school in New York. I lived on campus and had such fun. In fact, that is when I met my forever friend Joanna. She was doing the same one year program before marrying Steve. We had a lot in common and got to know each other throughout that year.
One of the blessings of my Christian college experience was the dorm Mom. I absolutely loved her…..instantly I knew she was someone I could trust and talk to about anything. And all of us girls felt the same way. She was an older lady with grown children and a husband who was a Professor on campus and she took all the students under her wing, especially us girls. She talked with us about Jesus, showed us the love of Jesus in her care for us, and also talked to us conversationally about what it meant to be a godly woman, wife, and mother. I remember sitting under the trees outside as she spoke gently and with a great sense of humor and love to a handful of us engaged girls about practical “newlywed” type of information….everything from laundry to the bedroom. Even thought I also had the best upbringing of my own dear mom, I appreciated it Mom P’s extra knowledge much. She was an excellent dorm Mom. In one of her notes to me she wrote, “I do not push myself on anyone, but any who want me, can have me.” And that is certainly how I felt around her….”she’s a friend, she loves me, she cares.”
After I was married I continued to keep in touch with her. When Rich and I had our second child I experienced Post Partum Depression. At the time I didn’t have the name for what I was feeling –but it was terrible–and my dear Dad encouraged me to go and talk with Mom P. So I did. I remember sitting in her office and soaking up her encouragement and love. And most of all I remember how she took newborn Ethan in her arms and we walked downstairs to the cafeteria where she happily showed him off to everyone.
After Rich and I moved away from the area I sent her Christmas cards and I believe I talked to her once on the phone, or maybe in an email, asking for a church recommendation, and we had a nice time catching up.
Then FB became a “thing” with people of all ages and she and I found each other on Facebook….she continued to show an interest in me….asking about the kids, loving the photos, showing true interest and joy in my life.
She and her husband retired a little while back and moved further south and I felt a twinge of sadness knowing she “wasn’t there” at the college any longer. To me, she was something of a college institution and should never leave it. 🙂
This story is getting longer and longer, I just wanted to tell you a bit about Mom P, because I had the best surprise last week.
In each dorm building at Grace’s school there is a set of “parents” who are there to provide any type of basic need that a student might have in the dorms….a married couple to stand in the gap for the students who are away from their real parents for probably the first time. I met Grace’s dorm parents when we moved her into her room and it was a good feeling to know that they were there, living with their young daughter just down the hall from Grace and all the other dorm girls. I saw a bunch of photos that Grace’s dorm Mom took of “her” girls on their first few days of school.
So imagine my complete and utter surprise when my own Mom P. sent me a message on FB on October 3rd:
Hi dear Shanda, I just met your sweet daughter Grace. She is in my son & d-I-loves dorm. They are wonderful with the girls if I do say so. Grace is so precious and beautiful like her Mom!! Look forward to seeing her more this week!! God bless you all!
and from Grace:
“My dorm Dad is Mrs. P’s son. I just met her and she told me all about how amazing you are.”
OF COURSE after laughing and crying at the same time I BEGGED FOR A PHOTO:
When I sent the photo and little story to Dad via texting, this was his reply:
“Oh the depths and the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God……..”