Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Nest May Be Empty for Good This Time


It's true.

My son has found a nice room to rent 8 miles from the college. It shares a full kitchen with 2 other rooms, only one of which is occupied right now, and the owners live downstairs. There are hardwood floors throughout, and he can bring his cat. It's less than $500 a month.

He is going to sign the lease on Thursday and move in this weekend. The final straw for him was the 2+ hour commutes he faces when he has an 8 a.m. class -- and he's still late! I don't blame him. D.C.-area traffic will make anyone crazy, even a 21 year old who has all the energy in the world. It's a smart move, and he had many good things to say about the owner, whose father was a mathematician. (My son's first degree will be in math, followed by mechanical engineering). It sounds as though he is going to be really happy there.

I'm trying to look on the bright side, though this came about quickly. I had expected to have him here for another semester and a half. I like having him around. He's a great kid, and he is a terrific cook.

So I went out to Bed, Bath & Beyond and got him a bunch of little things for his kitchen: measuring cups, measuring spoons, towels, a cutting board, and so on. I also bought a new toaster for my kitchen so he can take the older one with him (along with the toaster oven, coffee maker, coffee grinder, coffee mugs, and espresso maker). He has a few pots and pans he collected along the way, but he will still need dishes and silverware. He's going to go get those.

That's not the bright side, though. The bright side is that I raised an independent young man who is smart, capable, responsible, and motivated to find his own solutions. He drives a car he bought new (pays for it himself), has a low-limit credit card, has perfect credit, and is now taking on a lease. I am so proud. I don't worry about him the way I worry about our daughter -- but that doesn't mean I'm ready for him to go.

I'm going to miss his belly laughs when we watch TV together. I'm going to miss that daily phone call or text, "What's for dinner?" I'm going to miss surprising him with some of his favorite things from the grocery store or with his laundry neatly folded on the bed (which always drew an "Aw, Mom! I was gonna get that!").

Sounds silly, right? My grocery bill is going down. My utility bills are going down. I'll have a spare room that I can turn into a cute little guest room (where I can go curl up with a book when I can't sleep).

But all you moms out there who read me? The ones with little ones, the ones with empty nests. If you're a mom (or a dad - I don't discriminate), you know what I mean. I'm finally facing that really, very, empty nest. While our daughter has been in and out since she was 17, our son only left for his freshman year, and then he came back to knock out some courses locally (and cheaply) for two years. Because of the whole codependency thing I recently blogged about, our daughter won't be living here again. Can't do it. It doesn't solve a thing. But our son? I know he is doing this for real. He is ready to fly the nest, and his wings are sound.

That doesn't mean I haven't shed a few tears this week.

Peace - D

17 comments:

SandyCarlson said...

I hope he will love the magic of a city in the morning and watching it while it still sleeps. What an adventure. You are such a good mom.

the walking man said...

The nest here has been empty for half a decade. All the chicks are well on their way to a good life. I guess all you can do is be prepared with a pillow if one of those "shit happens" moments appear.

TSannie said...

Blessings on your empty nest! I'm still waiting for the freeing moment (sigh).
Hope he visits and cooks for you often!

Mental P Mama said...

I am heading there soon, and this brings a little tear to my eye...good luck.

Employee No. 3699 said...

I'm finally in the empty nest. My son came and went a few times, but I think that's over. He's almost 29!

Enjoy decorating your new guest room. I did!

RiverPoet said...

Sandy - Oh, I think he's just the kind of boy who will find pleasure in his surroundings. One thing he noticed was the beautiful shade trees on the lot. He said it was quite nice.

WalkingMan - Great advice! I hope to have a really nice guest room for when he drops in. :-)

TSannie - Thanks for stopping by! Yes, I'm hoping he'll drop in and make crepes for me on my birthday!

Mental P Mama - We'll get through this! This is the moment we've waited for (ever since the terrible twos!)

3699 - I had no idea you had a child of that age! You're well preserved, hon! Were you like 12 when you had him?

Peace - D

Akelamalu said...

I remember that feeling! :(

Still it gets easier and there comes a time when you really enjoy the peace. Is that a terrible thing for a mother to say??? Let's face it, all the work you put into bringing them up is geared to this moment isn't it? The day they spread their wings and fly.

Louise said...

I feel your pain! Mine are only 4- andn 6-years-old, but I think about it all the time. I try to enjoy every single moment. Even the bad ones. I know you are so proud of his independence, and you SHOULD BE!

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

I'm standing by with the Jumbo Kleenex.

But don't bogart it - who knows when I might need it again...

Maggie May said...

I have been there, suffered the same suffering! It will pass, thoughts are with you. hang in there, they do come back!

RiverPoet said...

Akela - I know...I'm kind of looking forward to the privacy and quiet. That doesn't mean I won't miss him every bit as much as you miss yours...

Louise - And it's so hard to enjoy the bad moments, isn't it? I think no matter what, we're always so gratified to know they are OUR kids and we will always be proud of them.

Baroness - Thanks, sweetie! I will share the Kleenex. I know you're still going through the transition, too.

Maggie - Thanks! I know I'll get through this, but it's strange...

Peace - D

Moannie said...

If they want to fly it is because you have done your job well, and they will be back, with their laundry and their girl or boyfriends, when their feeling low, or happy.

The sadness will pass in time, it is the way things are supposed to go.

Jay said...

First of all, congratulations! You have raised him well - he is independent and competent and he has the confidence to fly the nest and you know he WILL manage, and manage very well - he's even a pet owner! Well done!

I know things seem very empty when they leave, but Moannie is right. He'll be back, maybe with a girl in tow, and it's wonderful when they do! We've just been out to dinner with our two grown up (left home a while ago) sons and had a great time. Younger one brought his girl and we had a lot of fun. There are compensations! ;)

Ruth D~ said...

Oh, big hug and some commiserating tears! good tears, though. Be proud of him and yourself. I have a couple essays on the "empty nest" that will be published in a forthcoming Chicken Soup book. Happy/sad . . . isn't it?

RiverPoet said...

Moannie - I know it will pass, but the feeling is quite deep.

Jay - I really hope to see my son show up with a girl in tow at some point. He's painfully shy with girls and always assumes they won't like him (except as a friend).

Ruth - Congratulations on that! I think this is just a part of life - one that I need to master!

Peace - D

Lavinia said...

Sigh.....oh boy, once a mom always a mom, forever a mom.....

I'm inching my way there....where does the time go...wow...just yesterday we were changing diapers and packing juice boxes in the lunches...

Hilary said...

Aww I sure do know that feeling. My son has been out of the house for a couple of years.. independent and mature like yours.. but oh how I miss him.