The dorm stood tall against the night sky. I opened the glass door, walked across the tile floor, and rode the elevator to my fourth floor room. As everything else about my evening had been relatively routine, I did not expect to find what I found on the other side of the door. It was my roommate, and she was not happy with me. Her expression told me that she was more upset with me than when I would mindlessly leave my shoes in our small walkway to the bathroom.
Even though this was the beginning of our second year as roommates, I could not imagine why she was so angry. I searched my short term memory and came up with nothing. I had no choice but to listen, and at this point I was thankful that I knew she would speak her mind. She told me that she had been worried about me because I was much later coming back to our room than I had told her I’d be. It would have been easy for me to just call her and let her know that my plans had changed.
It was a catalyst moment. I didn’t feel mad. I understood. I understood her, my parents, my Resident Director, and all of my chaperones of the past several years. She had absolutely no assigned responsibility for my whereabouts, but she still cared enough about me to want to know that I was safe. Independence did not grant me freedom from the people around me. Independence gave me the responsibility to respect the people around me who care. A person who cares will ask the tough questions and help me become a better member of society.
As my roomie embarks on her adventure of mommyhood, I know she’ll rear her little one beautifully. I am a more considerate person because of her, and I even try to remember to tell my husband when I am running late (most of the time). My mom still wants to know when my family has arrived home safely after a long trip, and I tell her to give her some peace of mind. In our busy lives, a little peace of mind is a wonderful gift to give the ones who care.