Sunday, August 7, 2011
This week the 18-year old is packing up his room and collecting items that will squeeze into a tiny apartment he will eventually share with a buddy, and he'll be completely out of this house in a few days.
I thought I'd be OK with the whole moving out thing - never quite understood the severe trauma and depression experienced by my girlfriends when their children left the nest. My boy has always been independent and when that day comes, I'll be fine with it, I thought. What I didn't count on was him becoming the amazing person I'm currently enjoying hanging with. The past couple of years he must have concluded his mom's not such a square (well, not totally), and we've bonded on things like music, old TV shows, podcasts, politics, religion, personal finance, relationships. I've been recently blessed by dinner conversations with him that have lasted far beyond the meatloaf and potatoes. Kind of a bummer this will come to an end in a matter of days.
He is more than ready, not that I am. I miss my two-year-old creative genius. And it involves a lot of letting go on my part to share the 18-year-old version with the rest of the world.
Upon high school graduation, he received a $20,000 science scholarship that mandates he begin his higher academic career at a community college. Made sense to me to have him stay home for a couple of years, but knowing his nature, it should have been no surprise he'd want to strike out on his own. Unlike most of his friends, he won't have the security of dorm living and a pre-paid food plan. He's found a great, inexpensive apartment in the center of town, within walking distance to his dream job (a great comic/gaming/record store), and his college classes begin next week. College AND real-life responsibilities. I'm terrified for him.
Like any good mother, I've bribed the boy into coming back home on occasion. 1) I made great homemade meals of late sure to be prominent in his recent memory, 2) I've told him he can bring his dirty clothes home to be washed anytime, and 3) he is also welcome to hold his Dungeons & Dragons games at the house. I believe No. 3 is my best hope of bringing him back.
I will bestow on him a care package of everything I can think of (and afford) to help him survive in his new digs, but he'll have to figure out the rest on his own. Life is hard, he will undoubtedly learn. But he will always have somewhere to go when things get tough. Knowing mom's in his corner and a German bratwurst dinner with the family is just a phone call away has got to help.