DAVIS: Cowboys, princesses and ballerinas

On Sunday, a little boy wearing a cowboy hat and boots moved into his dormitory room at college. Despite his young age, there was nothing that made this day more remarkable than any other.
His mother unpacked boxes and made up the twin bed in his room. She stored his clothing in the closet and underwear in the dresser drawers. She made sure the bathroom was safe, his toothbrush handy.
A quick trip to Walmart and the purchase of two lamps ensured her little boy would have a cozy and comfy room to sleep in each night.
She met the roommates and others down the hall. She felt comforted that her son was surrounded by Spiderman, firefighters and Pokemon characters.
The campus was busy with other students moving in. Cars and vans were emptied as princesses and ballerinas carried boxes to their new homes.
The day before moving in, the little boy was a small baby who fell asleep in his Johnny Jump Up while his mother played the piano. The day before that, he was drawing his first breath.
Before she knew it, the time had come to leave her little boy and head home. She told him to get plenty of sleep and eat his meals. He was instructed to call her if he needed anything.
Reluctantly, she hugged her little boy goodbye. Dad patted his son on the back and told him how proud he was of him.
The ride down the elevator was a quiet one, despite the chatter between Malibu Barbie and the Little Mermaid who were on their way to meet their friend, Hello Kitty.
But as she watched from the car while her husband drove away, she saw her little boy rapidly grow to a young man headed out into the world to make his way. She smiled as her baby boy waved goodbye.
She looked around the campus grounds.
She saw the princesses lose their crowns.
Firefighters dropped their helmets and put down their axes.
Ballerinas removed their tutus.
All was right with the world. Natural order had been restored.
But regardless of how old he gets, no matter where his life takes him and how far away he goes, he will always be her little boy wearing a cowboy hat and boots.
And whether he will admit it or not, Dad will miss the little cowboy, too.
In hindsight, this day was more remarkable than any other. It marked a new future for this pair of parents, and all the others on freshman move-in day.