Sunday, August 22, 2010

Love 'Em & Leave 'Em

I knew this day was coming…have known it for quite a while. And yet, the more I’m dreading it, the faster it’s approaching.

Taylor is leaving for college.

I can’t believe that I won’t be able to walk out of my office and knock on his door á la Sheldon, from The Big Bang Theory:

KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK, “TAYLOR!”
KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK, “TAYLOR!”
KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK, “TAYLOR!”

….and be rewarded with this face:


…all filled with looooove, unending gratitude for all I’ve done for him, 18-year-old attitude.

What are we gonna do without him? (She wailed…fully expecting her readers to respond with the appropriate ‘tsk-tsk’s’ and gentle words of encouragement) More importantly, how will he survive without me??

I’ve spent the last few weeks shopping up a storm. I bought plates and peanut butter and soap and desk lamps and towels and spatulas and Febreeze and foil and oatmeal…to name a few. My dining room table and living room coffee table have become a holding place for College-Central. I’m washing everything ahead of time so it’ll be ready to use when he moves in…and I’m biting my tongue (it’s raw and bleeding at this point), as I find my motherly sensibilities regularly challenged by his mismatched bedding choices (gray sheets with a green comforter) and incompatible table settings (smoky dark green drinking glasses with black, white and red dishes). Taylor’s a decorator’s nightmare: he’s colorblind and he’s stubborn as hell. He likes what he likes and he doesn’t give a damn what anybody else thinks. There’s a part of me that grudgingly admires that.

It’s his place (as he keeps reminding me)…and he’s the one that’ll see it day in and day out (as he keeps repeating over and over again)….not me….(yeah Tay, just push that knife a little deeper into my heart…and…twist.)

Over the last week, I’ve surrendered to my emotions and announced several times that I’ve changed my mind…that I’ve pulled the moving out option off the freakin’ table. For this, I get the “just humor her sigh” combined with the dramatic, “I’ve-suffered-for-so-long” eye roll.

I’ve even tried staring intently into his coffee-colored eyes and announcing, “You’re forbidden to go. I’m sorry…but you’re grounded. Go unpack.” That’s when I see a surge of independence flash in those beautiful eyes and he responds with, “Way to be mature, Mom.”

So, he’s going. The other day, he made the mistake of asking me what I would do with his room after he leaves and I got so tied up in knots, I dragged out a video of him graduating from preschool and I made him watch it with me. To his credit, he remained stoic whilst I gushed over how he was the cutest (he was) and the smartest (he really was) and the most well-behaved (honestly, I’m not the only one who thought so) of the whole, entire class. Then he convinced me my phone was ringing and the dog needed to be walked and wasn’t that Connor calling me? Gee, boys are not very sentimental, are they?

Still. Who’s gonna nuke burn cook his dinner every night? What if he has a headache? Or a splinter? Or a piece of food caught in his teeth? Who’s gonna be his chauffeur/nurse/maid/secretary/personal shopper/tech support? I can’t imagine not seeing that face every day. The only bright note I can see is that I’m finally allowed to befriend him on Facebook. Evidently, that’s my reward for letting go…I get to be part of my son’s virtual world.

So if anyone’s looking for me, I’ll be the mom with her mouse poised on her Facebook page…impatiently waiting for her son’s impending friend request. He promised he’d do it…and it’s gotta somehow tide me over…

Just till Thanksgiving.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Poor Kathryn! He's leaving the nest...nothing you can do about it. Sorry, wish I could sugar coat it for you, but a kid's gotta leave when a kid's gotta leave.

Wishing him luck. :)

Gigi said...

Oh Kathryn! I feel your pain (almost - but in two years....it will be mine). Come on down to NC - we'll have a drink, commiserate and tell each other just how ours are the best boys on the planet. And think, if he's even half as resourceful as you - then he'll be okay.

Slamdunk said...

That must be quite a change for you all.

Still having one in diapers it is difficult for me to think that far in advance. I look forward to reading your advice in the future and then enjoying your updates on how well he is doing.

Lauren said...

Aw! I have no idea how you feel and I'm itching to leave my house... but on the bright side, it means he's healthy and well adjusted and that you did your job right, right? Not helping? There's always chocolate, wine, movies and a snuggly blanket standing by.

Jerry said...

Because of you he can walk into college with confidence and zeal. You are witnessing your handiwork.

Congratulations on you both.

Lynn said...

Well, that's better than my mil, who has a 50-year-old who has never left home. count your blessings that you raised him well and ready to be independent. Good on ya! Still, yes, quite the change. Go grab a glass...of, er... water. With lemon...

Alicia said...

Gosh Kathryn, I know how you feel. I'm so proud of him though, and so envious. Going out there into the world, full of new adventures, experiences, relationships. What I wouldn't give to be him!

Buck up my friend...you'll see, he's gonna miss you so much!

Kate said...

The funny thing is that I remember how happy I was to get out of my mom's house but on the other hand I hate thinking about Finn leaving.

Boonie S said...

He's a cool dude. He'll be fine. You're theone we need to worry about.
Take care.

All the best, Boonie

Vince said...

You have my sympathy if he is going all or even half way across the Nation. But if all he is doing is moving from the upper east to Fordham you will see more of him than you do at the moment.

BlackLOG said...

I feel for you, a friend of ours, in the space of 3 days next week will lose both her sons as they go off to Uni (One had a gap year) and 6 puppies all going to good homes.

You have done all you can for Taylor. It sounds like you have brought him up with good strong values.

Top tip for making them want to come home. Don't insist that they should be back every five mins just tell them that you are a bit busy so it's not always convenient for them to visit......

A Daft Scots Lass said...

You're wee man is leaving....how heartbreaking for you.

I dread the day my girls fly the nest.

Jen said...

I can only imagine how tough it is seeing the kids grow up and move on. The upside? You can start using his room for added storage space, or an exercise room. That is until he comes back for the holidays.

Dorn said...

My teammate just drove her only child a couple states away to college last week. He sounds just like your son...placating and cool...yet deep down really they always miss Mom! Be brave and Strong Kathryn. He'll come back, holidays and being broke are GREAT motivators!

sage said...

Wow, times are a changing... I gained a daughter-in-law this summer... Today's post by one of my regular readers addressed young men going off to college... Sounds like your man is a little more prepared than some, or maybe Randall is just grouchy today. Anyway, you might want to check it out:

http://musingsfromthehinterland.blogspot.com/2010/08/observation-about-current-state-of.html

Daily Panic said...

Gushy- fussy and over indulgent! that is how we moms show love!!!
He watched those videos and will always measure and give love by his wonderful amazing mother's example!
You're entitled to that little heartbreak, but you know its not forever!

Fierce said...

Oh Kathryn! I'm sure he'll be fine. And think about it this way: he'll be back, because no one could possibly nuke his dinner the way you can.

Best of luck to Taylor! And good luck to you, but I'm sure you'll be fine too.

:)
xoxo

kathryn said...

Oddyoddyo13: Yup...he's flown the coop. "A kid's gotta leave when a kid's gotta leave." That is so prophetic... How did you get to be so smart??

Gigi: Thank you, sweetie. Yeah, I know he'll be okay. I guess it'll take a while to walk past his door and not tear up. And we do have the best boys on the planet!

Slamdunk: Aw...with one in diapers, I'd say you've got a ways to go! I can remember being out with one of the boys as babies and someone saying, "MY babies are 21 and 25 years old" and thinking that I could not imagine being the parent to a full-blown-adult-PERSON. And, here I am. Enjoy those cuddles and that intoxicating baby-smell!

Tinkerschnitzel said...

It never is easy, is it? My oldest headed off to his first day of 1st grade today. I'm sure tomorrow he'll be following in Taylor's footsteps. Hey, he already has the eye roll down!

dailyseeking said...

Sorry, it's painful--took me a year to get over my daughter leaving. But then it's good; moving on to a different phase with your kids.

Nance said...

Oh, honey. In the South we say (and I always mean it), Bless your heart.

I have a fixed memory of the stairs to my son's second door dorm room from the day we moved him in for freshman year. One of those memories where you say to yourself, "Store this; you'll need it someday."

He left us as a boy who knew he loved his parents, but sometimes forgot why. When we visited him six weeks later at the first Parents Day, we found a boy who'd remembered out why.

Although you might not know to need them yet, expect miracles. There really are compensations and they don't come from finding distractions in the empty nest; they come from this same child.

snoble24 said...

its gonna be ok.itll be tough but youll be fine.they all grow up so quickly dont they.

TC said...

I'm like a mother hen but my chicks leaving the nest never was that big a deal. Perhaps because there were so many, perhaps because I'm heartless?, perhaps because if one left it seemed like one came home or a grandchild came to roost?

I never thought about the facebook thing???
BTW you will be fine, he will be fine and you know it.....and NOW he might actually realize how smart mama was?

Wendy Blum said...

Kathryn, you didn't raise either of your boys to snub anyone. Especially NOT YOU. You know that Taylor's bluffing with the eye rolls and dramatic sighs. He'll love his freedom. But nothing can ever replace the love of his mother,aka,YOU. By the time Thanksgiving rolls in, Taylor will be longing for those nuke burned meals of yours. Remember: When you love something set it free. He will return. Promise ;)

Mark Price said...

LOL Kathryn, We now have a daughter...no she isn't our real daughter she is a friend of Jakes who has adopted us while she is in college. We love her and are happy to have her around but we sometimes scratch our heads wondering why a 20yr old pretty girl living in a college town, chooses to hang out with us instead of other 20 somethings...Hey maybe we are cool? no? OK. My point is that they still need us whether they care to admit it or not.

Taylor, have a great time and study hard. Call your Mom often... if it helps, you can pretend you called just to make HER feel better. It's ok to miss her though, they all do.

ValleyWriter said...

I'm not a parent so I know I don't totally get this - but your description of watching his preschool video still made me go "Awww..." Good luck as you prepare to send him off! (Trust me, by the last one, you'll be partying! Or so, my own experience with my parents tells me... My room was transformed less than a month after going away!)

kathryn said...

Lauren: I did my job? So...he's supposed to want to leave me?? Sigh. I think I'll take that chocolate, wine and movie now...

Jerry: Aw. This was the nicest comment, Jerry! My handiwork...confidence & zeal. I like that! It makes it a bit less painful.

Lynn: Water? And the lemon doesn't make it more desirable, dammit. Wow..50 years old and never left home? Amazing. Do you think MIL didn't want him to leave? Or, was it his idea??

kathryn said...

Alicia: Well, he'd better miss me! And I know what you mean about being envious. I'm reminded of that expression that "youth is wasted on the young". That said, he DID thank us for everything....that was pretty darn awesome!

Kate: It's really a double-edged sword. As moms, I think we imagine them being hungry/thirsty/tired/cold, etc as our first instinct....even though we dread them feeling this way.

Boonie S: Aw...this was so sweet...and so terribly accurate! Gee...it's like you know me. And he is the coolest...and I'm sure he'll be fine!

kathryn said...

Vince: Well, do I get some sympathy if he's going somewhere in the middle? Not quite a plane ride...more like a l-o-n-g car ride. The future should be interesting.

BlackLOG: Ha! So, a little reverse psychology, eh? It's worth a try. I want him to want to come home. Does that make any sense? Wow...your friend is getting both barrels thrown at her next week. I don't envy her the echo of that empty nest.

A Daft Scots Lass: I'd no idea it would hit me so hard! I do believe that Connor (13) is cringing at the thought of the next five years...just he and I. For some strange reason, he's thinking I'll smother him. I wonder why??

jai said...

Hey Kathryn,

O the bleeding heart; stoic smile!
U said is so well.

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