Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The Nest May Be Empty for Good This Time
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