A Prayer on the Eve of My Son's Return to College

Dear God,

I'm loving the way my oldest is turning out. The boy has a work ethic like no other. He's compassionate, studious and frugal. I sent him to a land flowing with hops and hook ups, and he returned nine-months later clear headed and with his name on the dean's list. Godly character might have protected him from temptation, but his obsession with Stan Lee's universe filled with tight-wearing mutants might have something to do with it.

A win is a win, right?

I was apprehensive about having an adult child returning home this Summer. One hears horror stories of parent clashing with their newly minted adult over chores and house rules. God knows-- you know-- it's challenging for me to forget my boy is a man and doesn't need direction as much he needs a well timed question. And quasi-dependent men forget that courtesy and contribution to the common good go a long way. That said, his realization that stealing my socks and underwear was more convenient than doing his wash was the biggest conflict of the Summer. I'll take that.

These bright spots do comfort, I don't mean to be ungrateful. But he does things, occasionally, that remind me the little elves building his brain won't get around to hanging trim until his mid-twenties. For example, last Wednesday, Amy discovered the eldest created a Facebook event to celebrate his twentieth birthday and return to college. Said event would occur at the house Sunday Night. Dinner and birthday cake. All were welcome. He created the event days ago and the RSVP count was growing.

To complicate matters, our back and side yards were filled with ladders, scaffolding, old gutters, and siding. Team Shallenberger worked it out, and you heard the gentle ribbing we gave the man cub. All in good fun.

We got through it, and a good time was had by all. But, Sweet Jesus, and I'll addressing your son, not cussing-- that boy. He has gaps in his worldly wisdom and lives in a world of school loans, credit cards, Netflix, video games, Coed dorms, beer, and countless other way to get knocked off his game.

At any given movement he's three movements away from a wrong turn that could end up with him becoming a Scientologist, a member of the Tea Party, or defaulting on his student loans for attempting to pay with Bit Coin.He could end up a card carrying member of the Carly Rae Jespen fan club, an affliction that would stress the relationship between he and his hard-rocking mother. So, you see, the stakes are high.

I'll be quietly stalking him on Facebook, careful not to make embarrassing parental posts that would get me unfriended. But I need you to stalk him on campus and when he's driving that used police cruiser that I forgot to take the spotlight off of.

If we could divide the labor that way, I'd be grateful.


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