Next Steps



Shipping Costs

I know it sounds mundane—
silly even. Everyone wants free
shipping and the ability to return
the things they don’t want
without paying for them. But this time,
I’m willing to fight
for the $5.95. I deserve it,
I explain to the woman responsible
for taking my call. I want free shipping
because I only ordered the seafarer striped sham
to see if the navy blue sheets I also ordered
(from a competitor) would match
the seafarer striped duvet cover I ordered
only to learn (ten days later)
was on backorder and wouldn’t come
for another four weeks. I want
the free shipping on the sham
because what I really wanted
was for my first-born, college-bound son
to go to sleep in a strange, new place
wrapped in soft, stylish bedding.


Hi! It’s been a busy summer–carting kids to and fro, visiting with family, and getting ready to send our oldest off to college. Wow. It’s an emotional process. We’re so excited for him and completely confident that he’s ready but boy are we going to miss him. It’s truly been a pleasure to have him around and see him grow and change and become more and more himself. While I haven’t been blogging, I have been writing, a little. This poem is a tiny taste of what my summer has been like. I hope you all have had a wonderful season. I look forward to blogging more when school starts up again.

All my best,


18 replies
  1. Laura Shovan
    Laura Shovan says:

    Oh, Liz. I am with you, sister! My eldest returns to college tomorrow and already has plans to do an out-of-state internship next summer. Isn’t it funny how we attach ourselves to objects (he has to have X, I have to pack or do Y) to self-soothe? I bought my son a toothbrush he didn’t need, but it made me feel better. I love that the duvet cover is “seafarer” — good luck on the voyage.

    • Liz Steinglass
      Liz Steinglass says:

      My daughter said are you trying to control the sheets because you can’t control that he’s leaving? Is it that obvious?

      • Brenda Davis Harsham
        Brenda Davis Harsham says:

        Well, I almost agree with your daughter. I think you are more upset about the sheets than you would be if he weren’t leaving. You’re transferring some of your angst about him leaving onto things you should be able to control. Which is probably healthy. A good coping mechanism. Sending you hugs. And congrats on what a smart daughter you have. 😉

  2. Tabatha
    Tabatha says:

    How frustrating when you think something is taken care of and then it turns out not to be at all…
    Good luck with the transition! It’s a struggle. xo

    • Liz Steinglass
      Liz Steinglass says:

      Thank you for the good wishes! I think I will feel better when he’s there in his room. Or will I? Nice knowing so many others have gone through this and survived!

  3. haitiruth
    haitiruth says:

    Mine’s headed back for her sophomore year next week – oh, it’s tough! I like your poem! Ruth,

  4. Linda Baie
    Linda Baie says:

    I wish you a voyage that’s smooth sailing, and that you often get that free shipping when you most need it, Liz. My son spent quite a few summers away as a camp counselor so I thought I was ready for him going to college. I wasn’t, but we survived after a bit. Hugs to you on this new journey.

  5. dorireads
    dorireads says:

    Love the poem.

    Yes, it’s such an amazing mixture of joy, pride, and hope tinged with sadness. Transition. Getting from one spot to another. And it rarely comes with free shipping. Keep the sheets and wrap yourself in them! Snuggle down and have sweet dreams.

  6. Susan
    Susan says:

    Dearest Liz, I feel your pain. I remember my first child leaving for Uni.. And me wanting to do “more” for her (but I really just didn’t want to break the family as it was) so I hung around in her new city/country for a week visiting friends. I finally was allowed to unpack her room “for her” on the last day. Then she came back I gave her hug and she walked me to the bus (which took me to the airport which took me home). The colours were so bright on that walk, I could feel the air, my sight was super keen. As the bus left the curb, we waved like in a movie, but then my heart finally broke … I cried, and cried all the way to the plane, and cried through customs, and cried all the way to Dubhai where I knew I had to get it together before hitting HK… Grief is tough. Big hugs to you xx

  7. Heidi Mordhorst
    Heidi Mordhorst says:

    Yes, it is that obvious, and you put it together so well, and you got me right in the heart…it’s a year away still for me, and I can’t decide whether to start now ( a generally discouraged borrowing-trouble approach) for efficiency and reckoning, or to try and ignore it until—

    I think I better start now so I can actually leave when I’ve made the bed and it’s time to leave.

    Have you experienced jealousy of the new adventure, by the way? I would SO go to college all over again!

  8. Bridget Magee
    Bridget Magee says:

    Shipping costs take on a whole new meaning when it is for our precious cargo… Wishing you (and your son!) the very best during this transition. It is a tough one on everyone involved. =)

  9. Janet F.
    Janet F. says:

    You bring me back to all the obsessive things I had to do, the organizing for him ahead of time that he probably hated. But it showed I cared and he gets that. I only had to do it once, got only one chance to screw it up. Then I broke my ankle in end of July. Had to go in full cast with ugly cane, an old man’s brown style that our volunteer Fire Dept. has in its wonderful loan closet. All towns should have this, but I digress. Imagine having to have your mother hobbling around like this when you arrive. Luckily crop pants were in, so comfy with the cast, so hideous in retrospect. I hid in his room for most of the time. I even packed the car myself other than the lifting, since I knew I could get it ALL in….He had to have it ALL, since he would not have me. Now fast forward some. Despite the gut-wrenching chill I felt the day after we got home when the silence was almost more than I could bear and I repeated the mantra I had planned for myself, “I am not going to give in to the pain, I am going to choose to bear this with grace” and choked back the lump in my throat……..I see that said child is really quite the organizational genius when it comes to his office and things he treasures. He is a success, brought me the best grand dog and girl and daughter in law….so it all works out in the end if you are lucky. I never stop telling myself how lucky and blessed I am. I see that some of you are in Bethany…..are you at a workshop? I think your poem was terrific. Moving, visceral, real and true. The kind I like to write. Am working on a chap book that has prose poems in it…..and more. But hoping (planning) to be more active in the PF community this year. Hope everything goes well and I can’t wait until your book birthday!!! Hugs to you.


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