My son is now off at college. Yes, this is a life change for him. He’s begun his adult life and is now living away from home for the first time. My sister came with me to help move him into the dorms (yesterday was the official move-in day). I’m so glad she came, not just for moral support but because pretty much from the day he was born 18 years ago, she has been involved in his life. She deserved to be there. It was right for all of us, and I am so very glad that she got the time off work to come and share those days with him.
It’s no surprise to me at all that when he was given the choice of sharing a hotel room with me or my sister, that he chose to share with my sister. (Let me tell you, hotel rooms in Santa Cruz are difficult to come by and expensive!)
I lived in San Francisco when he was born, and she came down every single Thursday to spend the afternoon and evening with him/us. As a single parent, I can’t tell you what it meant to me to have someone else to give him a bath. One night a week I could sit on the couch for twenty minutes all to myself, knowing he was in safe, loving hands. I was so incredibly grateful. I also had the pleasure and delight of seeing the bond that developed between my sister and my son. They have always been close. Always. For years, he called her “My Marguerite.”
He went from 8 pounds 10 ounces and 21 inches long to just shy of 6’3″ and about 170. He’s a smart, funny, and conscientious young man, and I am proud of him.
It’s a life change for me, too. I have spent 18 years defining myself as the parent of a child. My work schedule has been deliberately designed so that I was home either in time to pick him up from school or to be home about the same time he was getting home from school. I kept my writing-business trips to a minimum, not only for reasons of cost, but because there were only so many favors I could beg from family, and only so much I could ask of my sister. Suffice it to say, that I once arrived at a convention after a 6 hour drive to get there only to learn that my brother, who was supposed to have my son for that weekend, had instead taken him to my parents. And that was not right for any number of reasons. So I drove back that same day and never took another trip until he was old enough that I felt it would not be too burdensome to ask my sister for help for the one yearly trip.
Eighteen years of cooking meals for and with him, driving him all over, making sure he was doing well, learning how to behave, getting him through school, discovering things we both enjoyed and watching him become a wonderful young man.
Now that will be from a distance, and while he’s learning the life he’ll lead as an adult, I’ll be learning how to live a life where my son is in charge of himself, and my days take on a different structure.
Now the house is quiet and empty, and he’s not down the hall in his room, or anywhere else in the house. He’s moved on to the next phase of his life in which he will, one day, say to me, “Mom, you were right to make me take a tool kit to college. I DID need those allen wrenches.”
It’s an adventure for us both.
Tags: College Boy