Oh no, that 1 am phone call no parent ever wants to get; “Hello Mrs. Schwartz, this is *On Star calling, your daughter has been in an accident.”
We were supposed to be leaving that morning at 6 am for our 12-hour drive back to Wofford from Miami. This would be the fourth and final time I would bring her to Wofford – her Senior Year.
That morning, 6 am came and went and we were still in the Emergency Room. After all the tests and x-rays and CT scans the only lingering injury was a broken ankle – crushed actually. She hit a tree on the wet streets following Tropical Storm Isaac – the tree won, her car was totaled. Speed and her cell phone were a factor as well. She was lucky to “walk” away at all.
A few days late, we eventually made that 12-hour drive to Wofford. The excited anticipation of seeing friends and telling stories of summer was marred by a veil of Percocet. There was no running from room to room to compare floor plans and colors in the Village (the housing she had waited 4 years for). When the last box was emptied and the last dress hung in the closet it was time to leave my vulnerable Senior to hobble around on crutches and fend for herself. It was like she was taking her first steps all over again. Kristyn learned to walk at 13 months, on Superbowl Sunday. She had been trying to walk all morning. She would stand and fall, over and over again. But just as the Washington Redskins scored their first touchdown Kristyn walked across the living room floor all the way to Daddy. Now, some 21 years later she was learning to walk again, literally, with crutches and a temporary disability and figuratively with a new independence and resolve.
The drive back to Miami doesn’t get any easier. I was still leaving “my baby” teetering on the brink of adulthood (actually hobbling on the brink). My 90-year-old mother still offering her sage wisdom that “this too shall pass,” and then felt the need to remind me of all the foolish and dangerous things I had done in my teens and 20′s.
The point of this story is that we are always “letting go” in some new phase of life. We hope and pray that we have given them the knowledge, confidence and skills to go out into this uncertain world and cope with whatever comes their way. With each passing year their world gets bigger and bigger. We will continue to hope, pray and worry, and silently rejoice when we get that “good night” text or joyful phone call for a 98% on the first German test. Fortunately for all of us, the world at Wofford is still small enough and human enough to care about our daughters and sons. Kristyn has been lucky to have Nurse Tammy looking in on her, campus safety taking her to class in their golf cart and wonderful friends and roommates doing laundry and bringing food. Is it Wofford? Is it the South? Or, is it both? Whatever IT is, we love it. There is something uniquely warm and caring about Wofford. Kristyn has gotten quite good at hobbling and now I know that “this too shall pass.”
With that, a belated, warm welcome back to all the parents of Wofford students and a huge welcome to Freshman parents. I hope everyone else has gotten off to a smooth start for this academic year and that I will see you shortly at Family Weekend. For most of us, Family Weekend, October 5, 6 & 7, will be the first chance we have had to see our little darlings since they left for school and it is a weekend not to be missed.
- Nancy Schwartz