Monday, December 17, 2012

Tennessee and ?

One of the saddest things for me right now is that I won't be bringing Chris to college.  I seem to find myself sobbing over that continuously.  It was all we talked about these past months.  We had been out visiting colleges in five states.  As much as I dreaded dropping Jeremy off his Freshman year, I wouldn't have traded it for the world!  The fear of leaving him, the worry he wasn't eating right, wondering if he'd make some friends, not being able to see him, unsure he was scheduling his timing right to be in class on time, so many frightening feelings for parents to contend with.  He was my child, my special boy.  We were scared when we drove away, I was sobbing of course but we made it thru.  I was really looking forward to that same anguish with Chris. That would be good anguish, if there is such a thing, it meant growing up, taking that next step and letting him experience some freedom of a whole new world.  I wanted to help him settle into his room, buy him twin XL sheets, bathroom stuff, pads of paper and one of those spinning trays you put paper clips and tape and push pins and pens in.  I did all of that with Jeremy and loved it.  Shoot, I actually went out and traded my sedan for an SUV the month before we took Jeremy to Holy Cross so that we'd have plenty of room for all his stuff!  I was really into it as much as my heart ached knowing we'd be parting with him.  I so looked forward to doing that with Chris too.

I've often called Jeremy our "guinea pig" of sorts. Since he was our first we were reluctant to allow him to do things.  We were nervous and sometimes irrational.  Jeremy slept in two pairs of pj's from the time we brought him home from the hospital until he was probably four.  We didn't want him to be cold if he rolled out of his blankets.  We didn't allow him to ride a two wheeler as early as some, for fear of him falling over. His battery powered motorcycle was just fine. We thought there was no rush and Jeremy didn't object so we let it be.  By the time Chris arrived three years later, we were a little looser and not as neurotic (or so we thought) and Chris actually took off on the bike himself when he was ready rather than having us hold him back.
Earlier this year we knew Bailey had been accepted to the University of TN but we hadn't heard from any of Chris's choices yet. The locations he had in mind were nowhere near Tennessee.

I know it weighed heavy on him.  It would be a tough struggle to make this work.  I had my own thoughts on the distant relationship that was forthcoming and attempted to help as best I could.  Keep in mind I thought I had a good solution for all of us... 

Jeremy is already attending college in Massachusetts and being that the Boston area has direct flights just about everywhere, I tried convincing Chris that one of the MA colleges we visited was his best location.  Why? Because I could get him on a direct flight to TN easier on a weekend than if he was, say in Plattsburgh.  We would have more flexibility for him to hop a weekend flight or for Bailey to fly in.  Also, keep in mind I had my own reasons for wanting the Boston area since that's where Jeremy is.  I could visit them both in a weekend and they could commute home together on breaks.  I thought I had figured it out for all of us!  But something tells me that wasn't Chris's plan.  I think he liked what I suggested but he was determined to go where he felt best.  I believe it was SUNY Cortland from what I'm hearing from his friends with the runner up being University of New Hampshire.  New Hampshire I could work with flights easier than Cortland... That location would be more like a three step process of car, train, plane to get to TN. 

Being that now we don't have the opportunity to see how this would've played out, I get upset.  We were so looking forward.  It was such an exciting time.  We spent so many hours on the applications and I was anxious for him to hit the send button on November 14th before the deadline.  I hope I get all the acceptance letters still.  I really want them to show up just as they would have, whether he got in or not.

I know Chris and Bailey were feeling heart sick at being apart.  I never discussed it with Chris but I could feel his internal struggle.  How in the world would they do it?  Stay together across all those miles?  They both worried but that was their plan, to continue dating long distance.  I know he was worried for her to go but maybe he took come comfort in knowing they could talk, text, Skype, etc. It's not the same as being there but at least it's something.  They hadn't see each other daily now anyway as they're at different high schools.  Maybe they saw it as just further distance new schools?  Kids are adaptable.

Well, I think Chris will be heading off to the University of TN alongside Bailey. Aren't they called the Volunteers? 

I think he'd like to volunteer some time to watch over her and bring her strength as she heals and prepares for her freshman year.  The good part about all this, as I see it, Chris can visit me too, and Jeremy and Mike... and of course the entire graduating class of 2013 at SHEN.  Chris likes a good party.  He'll be able to experience it all as he watches over his friends.  I take some comfort in that.

I went to a diving fundraiser for Bailey yesterday which was a lot of fun.  I never got to one of her meets this year, only saw video unfortunately but what a fun day.  I told Dawn (Bailey's mom) that it was the best I have felt so far in two weeks.  The USA Olympic swim team sent Bailey a box of Olympic clothing. What a surprise!  Who would have ever thought she would get phone calls from two of them and all of these official clothes with a bathing suit signed by the entire team!!! I was overwhelmed with pride for Bailey.  I sat there on the bleacher sobbing - feeling Chris flow thru me and knowing the depth of his love for her.  Chris was right there beaming at his girlfriend.  I know it in my heart. 


  1. Once again, beautiful. Your strength is admirable; your stories are beautiful. I can only hope that, if ever faced with a similar situation, I can have the grace and strength that you have.

    God bless you always.
    God bless you Chris.

  2. University of Tennessee it is! Bailey I would imagine will feel so much better starting her year out with Chris by her side. He will give her courage and strength . I pray you feel that comfort as well.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with all of of as you said we are a community and pray for you and Deanna's family often

  4. Again today, I am amazed by your strength. Your stories are beautiful and I thank you for sharing them. I continue to pray for all of you.

  5. I look forward to waking up each day to read your stories. Thanks Regina for sharing. Even though my children are grown now, your stories remind me to take time to notice the everyday little things, to really listen to them, to hold and cuddle them just as I did when they were younger. Chris will continue to live on through each and everyone of you and make you a little bit stronger with each passing day. I believe that.

  6. My heart aches as I read this today. I walked that walk with my oldest son, that you did with Jeremy and remember those days so vividly, and will with my daughter God Willing. My son is a spine injury survivor and will never play sports again (and he was a huge sports kid) 3 seasons in high school and before that always on some team growing up! So besides the daily decisions I had to hope he was being safe and not getting back into sports because "mom couldn't see". I thought I had to mention that, because as I read your blog daily, I feel a connection to you as a parent, a mother. It is comforting to me to read that there are moms out there like me. I get a lot of criticism for not being able to let go, but even if there is one parent like me (which I'm assuming there are a lot more) it helps. Not that I would change, but it's nice to see that I'm not alone. The notes in the lunches; the goofy texts; the fears while ever so proud to let them go on their way... Powerful messages and ones I'm glad to say I have done with my children in the past.

    I also appreciated all the things you did to try to help Chris carry out his relationship with Bailey once in college. Again, I love the support that was so obviously there in every way. Most parents would just say that the relationship won't last, it's impossible to have long distance relationships especially in college, but that's not true. With the love and support of those around, anything is possible, and your love for your son and wanting to help him through that is heartwarming.

    When we respond to your blog, it is out of respect and sheer compassion and hope in some small way, if you read these, that we can help comfort you. I know that's why I am writing back. It helps me to feel like I can help in some small way.

    I'm also getting to know Chris and Jeremy and please know that Jeremy is in my prayers. I hope that he is finding a way to deal with the anger you mentioned in your first blog.

    Your strength is amazing and while it probably doesn't feel like that all the time, you are not alone.

  7. Thank you for sharing your perspective and sharing your stories, so well written. You have a gift.

  8. I can not thank you enough for writing this blog. Please know that I am so very sorry that you have to experience this nightmare. I also have 2 boys, one of them being #69 on the SHEN JV Football team. He chose that number because Chris was his role model. He also bites his fingernails, like me, has warts on his hand, a broken finger from football, and looks an awful lot like your son. You have brought me hope, love, encouragement, and the highest form of inspiration possible. Your words have brought me closer to my children and I can not thank you enough. I only wish there was something we could do for you. I am so glad that you realize what you are experiencing is real and that Chris is not gone and death is not the end. Know that all you have to do is call him, even with your mind, and he will be with you. You are a gift to us all, thank you.

  9. Mrs. Stewart,

    Your blog is beautiful. You have a wonderful talent of putting into words feelings which must be unbearable. Thanks for sharing part of your life and these great memories of what must have been a super-amazing son! God bless you!

  10. It is so comforting to read your words. I hope you are comforted as you write them. I don't write back very often, but I want you to know that I read you every day. God Bless your family.

  11. Today was so busy for me but I kept saying dont forget to read the blog. Just as I prayed before bed turned the light out....I popped up and said The Blog! I didn't check the blog. I'm so happy I did. It sounds like Bailey is hanging in there. You are very good to her. Hope Chris visits you soon. Xo

  12. Bailey is so fortunate to have you in her life. You are being so strong for her. I can feel your heartache in this blog. big hug for you today.

  13. Virtual hug from one "tough German" to another,I have said that before so got a grin from me on that. From all that I have read what great young men you have raised, such a great mom! Sleep well, be well and keep on going! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I will try every day to do better, to do good with my life. If you can, I can! xoxo

  14. Your words are truly beautiful, and I know that Chris is with you, your family, and Bailey. I feel that I know your son from all that you have written about him. I love your stories about him and look forward to many more.