Saturday, May 16, 2015

Boys to Men

I'm not a very honest blogger.
I think I avoid writing about the topics that are hurtful. Instead, I attempt to be funny or divert to book plots.
That's why, right now, I have a blog post languishing that begins:
So, he moved out yesterday and left without kissing me goodbye.
Both of my boys have now moved into apartments, and they were very different departures.
Yes, you can still see his ribs. He never did put
on weight while living in the college dorms.
Spencer came home from college for about a week. He slept most of the days away, caught up with his friends in the evenings, and even found some time to scrape the garage so we can paint it.
He drove back to school on Sunday with his car filled with clothes and an air mattress so that he can camp out in his house until we take his furniture down on Saturday.
He texts me things like, "Can you bring down a spatula?" and "The mac and cheese seems really watery." So I had to tell him he should drain off the water before he added the cheese.

I drove down Thursday with his desk, and we hung curtains and took a trip to the grocery store to stock up on essentials.
Spence is far from perfect, but he's interested in talking about things. So I can tell him about my classes and students or have conversations about Grace and her adventures. And he shares a lot with me too.
He hasn't even complained about the flamingo and palm tree dishes I bought for him at the garage sales last weekend.
Earl and I are going back down today with a truckload of furniture so he'll have his real bed, a couch and a dresser.
The apartment is fine on the inside, but the outside looks like typical student apartments, kind of run down with steps crumbling and the porch overhang a bit rotten. It's the kind of place that parents would never approve of renting, but college students are a bit more eager. I'm sure it'll be fine for one year.
Spence has already texted the maintenance guy about a leak under the sink, a crack in a window and a slow draining bathtub.
He's still waiting to have internet installed. He called before he moved in and set up installation, but that internet company had some equipment challenges. So yesterday he called the other internet company. He's learning about the frustrations of dealing with utilities. I'm sure the experience will be an eye-opener for him.
So there was the peaceful transition of one boy to his first apartment.

Tucker moved out two weeks ago, on May 1.
I was gone to work and when I came home, a beat up pickup truck behind the garage was partially loaded with furniture.
He and his new roommate carried out mattresses and a desk and dresser then bags full of clothes. When we asked if he needed help, he said, "No."
And he left then, without kissing me goodbye.

Even through all the tense times we've had since Tucker returned home from college in December and lived at home throughout the winter and into spring, he has leaned over to let me plant a kiss on his bearded cheek most days, whether in the morning as he left for class or in the afternoon as he left for work, or even when he came home at night from time out with his friends.
19 is hard.
He thinks he's an adult, but he's still making adolescent mistakes.
We had said we wouldn't help pay for an apartment. He could live at home, or he could go to college and live in a dorm.
All three of my kids on Tucker's 19th birthday in March.
This spring, we agreed to let him move into an apartment with a friend in the hope it might help our relationship. We didn't seem to have conversations, but terse snapping one liners at each other.
He hated being home and having to answer questions like, "Did you go to class?"; "How are your grades?"; "What are you doing tonight?"
The questions might even be polite, like "how was your day?" but he bristled each time.
So after he left, I was heart broken that things were so bad between us.

But just two days before he left, I was in bed around 11, with my door closed to keep the cats from annoying me, as they like to do when I try to sleep. Suddenly, the door was pushed open and Tucker said, "Mom, will you come help me?"
I jumped up and went into the bathroom where he was leaning over a trash can throwing up.
He had a splitting pain in his head. He felt sure it was a brain tumor, as many of us do.
"I think it's a migraine," I said.
I got a cold cloth and put it on the back of his neck. I found the Excedrin migraine medicine and he was able to keep that down.
I settled him on the couch and sat next to him until he stopped sweating and seemed able to relax.
Then my husband took my spot and sat up until he fell asleep.

So even as Tucker brusquely moved out of our house, I remembered that just two nights before, he had turned to me when he needed me.
And my goal will be that he knows I'm here for him. That doesn't mean that I will bail him out of every situation or give him money, but I'll always love him, and he can move back home if he wants to.

The day after he moved out, he came back home and ate with us. On Sunday, he texted me and asked what time family dinner was. I hadn't actually been planning a family dinner, but since Grace was leaving for Europe and Spencer was home, it was an excellent idea.
I saw Tucker most days the week after he moved out. When I went to the grocery store, I bought an extra gallon of milk for him.
I offered him a box of Raisin Bran Crunch that hadn't been opened yet.
"No, that's okay. We only have one bowl," he said.
So during the neighborhood garage sales last week, I found Spencer's flamingo dishes and another set of dishes for Tucker's apartment for only $5.
Last week, he and his roommate drove to Colorado to stay for the week and bring a friend home from college.
Crystal Lake at Pike's Peak
We've had some heated exchanges about the amount of data he's using on his phone, but he also sent me some lovely scenic pictures.
Garden of the Gods
Our relationship still has many mountains ahead, up and downs, but I know he loves me, and I'll keep working to treat him like an adult -- an independent adult, and hopefully he'll move toward that title.

Also connecting with Saturday Snapshot today because there are some lovely photos in spite of the very long post.


Jackie McGuinness said...

I so understand how you feel. I have a nephew around the same age as Tucker who is also floundering to find his way in this big world. He lost his mother at Tucker's age and the last two years have been hard.

Paulita said...

Jackie, Yikes. As much as Tucker thinks he doesn't need me, this would be such a hard time to lose a parent because you haven't settled those difference yet. Sorry for your nephew. Thanks for reading!

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I can so relate to your stories about the "half grown" kids, and how they don't handle their disappointments very well.

My youngest son and my daughter were the most difficult, wanting what they wanted when they wanted it...and sulking or throwing temper tantrums when they didn't get it. I even wrote a short story about some of my daughter's woeful behavior during those difficult times...fictionalized and changed up a bit, but containing the core truths. That helped me.

And most of the time these days, we are okay...she is now 38! LOL

But sometimes her adolescent self makes an appearance.

Hang in there!


Sandra Nachlinger said...

My son is married now and has a daughter, but I definitely remember those in-between years. Hang in there. Things do get better. And one day, your sons will suddenly think of you as wise... but it may take a while.
Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog post today.

Susan Lindquist said...

Oh boy ... does this post bring back memories ... 19 IS hard, but this too shall pass! And he DID send back some gorgeous shots of his jaunt!

Vicki said...

I know it's rough and your feelings get hurt from time to time, but things will get better. Hopefully sooner than later.

Sean @ His And Her Hobbies said...

You are a great mum. Kids can be difficult at that age and its wonderful that you don't take it to heart when this happens. Its great that he knows he can come home and that you are always there for him.

That part of Colorado is beautiful. We went there in 2007 and I would love to go back some day.

Sean at His and Her Hobbies

Unknown said...

so you have an empty nest?
thats hard too
gotta let them go thou

when my daughter left home - years ago - she was quite young
we were at loggerheads
we get on much better now

just letting them now you love them and always there for them is the most important thing


grammajudyb said...

In my experience, girls are harder. But at 19 my son joined the Air Force. We could not afford college, so the US government educated him. It was the best thing for him and me. I felt like he was "safe" ( it wasn't wartime and he was in the tech field so not carrying a gun or driving a Humvee) and he felt like he had some freedom. He grew up pretty fast and his now a successful husband, father, and grandfather. He says, "thanks Mom for always supporting me". Guess that says it all. Hang in there, "this too shall pass", to quote my dear deceased mother.

westmetromommy said...

Aw, what a post. I know that things are hard right now, but it sounds like your son still needs you! You'll always be his mama!

Brona said...

Oh Paulita.
We have an almost 18 yr old in his final year of school and there are (many) days when we're all counting down the days for when he moves out on his own!
It's such a difficult age. He (thinks he) knows everything and can't be told or advised about anything.
I feel your anguish even as I was hoping that things might get easier next you've just dispelled that myth :-/

I guess that hard part is having an open door/heart policy with some boundaries as well to avoid being used.
Good luck - it sounds like things will improve for all of us (eventually) thanks to the encouraging comments from Sandra, Susan etc.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
-- Kahlil Gibran

Paulita said...

Thanks to everyone for their sympathy and encouragement as I muddle through parenting teenagers/young adults.

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