Thirty or so years ago I moved back into my parents’ home after leaving college after less than two years. Turns out I wasn’t quite ready to manage life on a college campus so I came home. I struck a deal with my mother in which I would work for a year and any money I saved, she would match and I would go back to school.
The best laid plans.
After being away from home for almost two years it was difficult for me to go back to the “my house, my rules” scenario that I knew so well when I was in high school. After one too many late nights, my mother told me that if I wanted to stay out until all hours than I should move out.
I guess the deal was off.
I was working full time and I had bought a used Chevy and I began looking for an apartment. When I found one I told my mother and I’ll never forget the look of surprise on her face. I was surprised that she was surprised, because I thought she wanted me to move out. I believe she thought that I would acquiesce, stop staying out late and play by the rules. But it was too late.
This soon became my home
A one bedroom, first floor apartment (on the right). I had a mattress on the floor, a nine-inch black and white television and a claw foot bathtub – no shower. It was mine for $295 a month. No one could enter the building without a key and there were no buzzers so whenever I had company they had to knock on my window to let me know that they were there. I slowly furnished the place with a bunch of junky second hand furniture but I didn’t care. I had a place of my own.
I began doing things that really signified that I was an adult. I had bottles of cheap wine in my refrigerator. I bought a real Christmas tree. I had overnight guests. I was grown, honey.
Fast forward ... my son recently informed me that he was moving out. I believe I had the same look of surprise on my face that my mother had on hers 30 years ago.
He works for a national financial institution and he was able to secure a transfer in the city where his girlfriend lives. See, once she graduated from college she worked locally for a while and then was offered a very nice promotion but she had to move away. She and my son did the long distance thing for a while but I’m assuming that they grew tired of it and now in just a few short days he will leave and live in another state with her.
I knew it was coming. I raised both my children to be independent. Now that they are it’s a little bittersweet. It’s funny – I think they worry more about me than I do about them.
I am not sad but I am going to miss him.
My daughter is still in school and I believe she’ll be my roommate again after she graduates, but once the Prince leaves, he’s gone. I know he’ll be fine. He’s smart and responsible and just a phone call away.
I’ve gone places, taken trips without my kids but the feeling of me leaving them somehow is not as painful as the feeling of them leaving me. I think all the way back to the first time I brought them to daycare for the first time, or the first time my son took a trip on an airplane without me, or the day I dropped my daughter off at her college campus. Maybe it was the fact that I knew when I left I was coming back. I don’t know.
Anyway, this is yet another new phase and I'm pretty sure I’m going to buy a cat next month.