Why helping move an old sofa is a story to remember

On Twitter, at least some people use the ages of their children (instead of their names) when tweeting about the youngsters.

I wasn’t lucky enough to have children of my own, but there are two young people for whom it is my privilege to do dad-like things. And this is a big weekend on that front. If I were to tweet about it in the style noted above, the tweets might say:

  • Friday we helped 22 move into her new apartment in the Big City where she starts graduate school next week.
  • 18 and I texted back and forth 32 times (a record for us, I think) getting his Federal Student Aid online credentials straightened out so he can get his loan for his first year of college.

Let’s start at the beginning.

We headed for the Big City a little after 8 a.m., driving in a three-vehicle caravan — Janet and 22 in the lead, followed by 22’s boyfriend pulling a U-Haul trailer with his pickup. I brought up the rear in my old Saturn, which has been 22’s car for the past couple of years. Some four hours later, we arrived and started unpacking. It did’t take long. The only things worth noting are that 22’s new apartment is on the third floor of a building that has no elevator and she had to move a really heavy old sofa that was a bit of a challenge to navigate through the stairwell. Luckily, the boyfriend is a strong, athletic guy. As for me, I lived up to what could be my theme song.

Wherever he is, my Dad had a good laugh about this, I’m sure. He and Mom helped me several times after I graduated from college and moved from newspaper to newspaper at the beginning of my first career. All of the apartments I lived in back then were on the second or third or even fourth floor, which Dad wasn’t bashful about pointing out. “Why can’t you ever live on the ground floor,” he would ask.

Just so Mom won’t feel left out, I’m learning about the many things she did for me when I was the 18 in her family. I’m pretty sure I never did anything to complete the paperwork (and back then, it was all done on actual paper) that enabled me to get the student loans that helped fund my bachelor’s degree. Mom did all of it.

Last Thanksgiving, I logged on to fafsa.ed.gov and completed all of the forms for 18 to receive student loans this year. I think I even created a log-in credential for him, but then never completed the verification for it. So when the financial aid office at his college told him this week he needed to complete two forms in order to actually get his money, he ran into problems. This set off the back and forth texting earlier in the week. He started texting me again Friday just as I was approaching 22’s new apartment.

By the time I think we straightened it all out Friday night, 18 texted to say he was getting ready to leave and would finish the forms on Saturday. (And, no. I didn’t ask where he was going. I’m sure he was headed to the library since that’s where I went on Friday nights when I was a college freshman.)

With any luck, 18 will be able to finish his paperwork on Saturday so we can move back to helping 22 get settled. I’m guessing we’ll have to buy her some groceries and take her out to eat before we head back for Iowa. And she was having some trouble with her WiFi so maybe we can get that straightened out, too.

These things are worth noting here because they make me very happy. This is a big step in life for 22. It’s a bit of an emotional time for her mom. For a long time, these are the kind of moments in life I never thought I’d get an opportunity to share with anyone. And I’m grateful for the opportunity.

But I’d be OK with never having to help move that sofa again.

One thought on “Why helping move an old sofa is a story to remember

  • It seems to be a requirement that whenever a child moves into a new place–be it college dorm or apartment–said apartment or room must be at least 3 floors up. I recall number one daughter moving out of her dorm at Cornell College on the 3rd floor and rolling the carpet into a tube and dropping it down the stairwell in the middle of the floor to the first floor. Much easier than carrying it down all those turns. I’m with you on the heavy sofa too. She needs to sell it to the next tenant.

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