Friday, February 12, 2021

Keep Your Loved Ones Safe This Valentine's Day, and Always

My baby boy, circa 1998
A few weeks ago, I dropped my son off at college, and it was more emotional than I expected. See, my son has been in college for a few years now. Dropping him off and picking him up has become old hat (that phrase makes me now feel old, but I digress). It's been a mundane routine over the years of packing him up, shipping him out, packing him up again, and shipping him home. 

But, this year felt so much different. For starters, he had been living on campus mostly year-round, as he took summer courses in addition to his fall and spring semesters. When I moved in with my partner last summer, my son had only stayed at my house about ten nights of the year. Even when the pandemic hit, my son was one of the few allowed to stay on campus. But when the college opened up its campus to students again in September, my son decided he wanted to learn remotely.

This pandemic brought us closer together
with family nights on the couch

Being in a new place and having my son move into that place took a lot of adjusting on all of our parts. Mike had to renovate a room for him; we had to figure out where to store all his belongings; we all had to learn to live in harmony together, while having different daily routines and eating habits. After a few rocky weeks, we found our living together groove. We established family routines, such as eating dinners together no matter what the rest of our day looked like; going for hikes and walks and runs together; watching a dedicated TV show together. 

So proud of his achievements!
This pandemic offered an opportunity I don't think I would have had otherwise. My son is at the point in his life where he'll soon go off and live on his own, create his own life, and our time together will lessen. Having my son in my home during the pandemic also gave me a sense of relief knowing that he was safe. I hadn't realized that I hold this nagging anxiety when he's away from home—that he's out in the world on his own and there's nothing I can do about it. Of course, this is what every parent wants to achieve ultimately—to raise their children to be self-sufficient, successful. But it's still hard to say goodbye to the baby boy that used to love cuddling on the couch with a good movie and hot cocoa.

When my son got accepted into a new college more than three hours away, I felt a little anxiety about the distance, about the pandemic, about him being so far away in a new place on his own. But I was also very excited for his new adventure. I was also ready to go back to the calm, quiet lifestyle that Mike and I had become accustomed to before my son moved in. So I set about packing my son's life up once again and making sure he had everything to be self-sufficient and successful at his new school.

IllumiNITE's cool, reflective design will keep
my son visible to drivers despite dark and winter conditions
Before I knew it, time ran out and it was moving day! We packed up a rented minivan (with unlimited miles!) and made the three-plus hour trek to upstate Vermont. Due to the pandemic,  we weren't allowed to help him move into college. We had to stay outside, so we unpacked the minivan, left them on the steps of his dorm, and gave a quick farewell—did I mention that it was only nine degrees out? Brrrrrr! 

My son's been living in Vermont for the past few years, so he's fully equipped for Vermont
winters with thermal wear and a heavy duty jacket and gloves. Since he doesn't have a car, we bought him a mountain bike so that he can get around campus—and have some fun in Vermont's epic wooded trails! I made sure he had all the safety accessories: helmet, blinking lights, reflective strips. But on the drive home, I realized exactly how remote he was, remembered how quickly it gets dark in the winter, and panic seized me. Why didn't I buy him reflective clothing before he left? And then it really hit me: my baby boy has once again left the nest, and I missed him terribly already.

Who's that sneaking up in the dark? 
Phew! It's just my son being silly
on our evening walk!
Thankfully, Mike is very attuned to my feelings, and he comforted me on the ride home. "We can always go hiking in Vermont and visit him when it's safe to do so." Tears welled up in my eyes. 

"He's only a car ride away, not across country." I nodded. 

"We can finally watch whatever we want on TV." That one made me laugh.

And now that we're watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime (highly recommend!), I remembered that it's a good thing to have such an ambitious, driven child who wants to venture out on his own. 

"He takes after him mom," Mike said.

Safety orange will keep my son safe from hunters
when he's on the trails in the woods

And then I remembered just because he's not home doesn't mean I can't keep him safe. There's this wonderful thing called online shopping where purchases can be shipped anywhere in the world. And since I love the safety that IllumiNITE provides, I opened up my browser and bought my son their Reflective Waterproof Bike Helmet Cover and their Vizi Reflective Orange Bib in Safety Orange.

is more than an athletic apparel company; they offer a variety of products for womenmenkids, and even pets; Safety is IllumiNITE's top priority. From tote bags to Halloween capes to dog leashes, IllumiNITE has something for everyone. 

My favorite Valentine's
Looking for gift ideas for Valentine's Day? Give the ultimate gift of love with IllumiNITE's reflective products. Use discount code BOGOVALENTINE* (automatically applied at discount) to get 50% off a second item when you buy one at full price! That's an amazing savings...especially if you're buying one of their Winter Jackets! And you can keep your loved ones safe the other eleven months of the year with my discount code RunBrightly15 for 15% off your order. 

How do you keep your loved ones safe? 
Leave a comment below!

Have a very Happy and Safe Valentine's Day!

*Buy one regular price item, get one regular price item of equal or lesser value 50% off; Active from 12:00 AM Feb 12 to 11:59 PM Feb 19; May be used more than once; cannot be combined with other discounts

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