As Debra Barber finishes a bit of spring cleaning, she audibly reminds herself how blessed she is.
Her son, Dale Barber, is finishing his English degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this spring. He is unsure what he’ll be doing after graduation, other than “finally having time to write what needs to be written.”
“The dogs will be so excited to see him again,” Debra said. “Vinnie, especially. He always cuddles with him on the couch.”
Dale’s English concentration was in rhetoric, a skill he said he plans to use often in his line of work.
“I have a real grasp on what makes a story transcend from a bunch of words to a living, breathing experience,” Dale said. “I feel like I’ve been given a gift, and I’d be mistaken to waste it.”
Debra said she made a recent trip to Pottery Barn in hopes of finding ways to “give Dale’s room some extra spice.”
She said she found a nice throw rug and a bookshelf that looks older but is made really well.
Dale said he was excited about the chance of writing for a literary magazine.
“I’m working on a story that I’m going to submit to The Atlantic,” he said. “It’s about this old man that tries to cut his lawn but he’s moving too slow and it keeps growing back up around him.
“Allegory is my specialty,” he added.
“Not every mom gets to be a mom again,” Debra said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to get to know my 23-and-a-half-year-old son.”
Debra, who helped pay for Dale’s education by taking on a second job, said she’s already bought a 44-pack of Kraft Mac & Cheese from Sam’s Club as a welcome home gift.
“I made sure and got the cartoon kind,” she said. “I used to get the ones that are just noodles, but he always said they didn’t taste as good. I didn’t get that Easy Mac stuff, though. I want him to feel independent.”