Tuesday, August 21, 2012
A Rite of Passage
This morning, my wife and I participated in one of those rites of passage that so many parents are making at this time of year all over the country - moving a child into a college dorm. Of course, this isn't new for us, as it's the third year of school for both our daughter, Hannah, and our son, Ben. Today it was time to get Hannah situated in the sorority house in which she'll be living at the College of William & Mary.
Believe it or not, we needed to rent a mini-van to get all of her things (including a lot of clothes!) from our house in New Jersey down to Virginia. With the van stuffed, we drove down on Sunday, spending a couple of days there before moving her in this morning, and then driving home to our now empty house. The move-in went quite smoothly as we were able to park close to her house and get the van unloaded pretty quickly.
We spent the morning getting everything up to her room, helping her get it set up to her satisfaction, and of course, making a run to Target for a variety of necessary items. I noticed a real sense of community as people were quick to help each other carrying heavy items or just reducing the number of necessary trips back and forth to the car. We each helped other families, and they helped us as well. Of particular help was a maintenance man who assisted me getting a refrigerator up to the third floor of the sorority house. I even took care of disposing of a dead cockroach for a family of women that didn't want to go near it!
One of the things I noticed in this process is the impact that shared experience has in causing people to help each other. In this case, each family knew what it's like to have so much to carry or to set up, and they knew how much easier it is when they get help. As a result, everyone is quicker to offer that same help to others that they received themselves. I suppose that's what a "community" is all about.