Leaving the Nest

The days are long...  but the years are short.  And before you know it, time has passed and the world has moved on.

A few weeks ago, my son bought himself a car.  A very nice car. I co-signed the loan for him so that he can begin building credit (when they ran the credit check, he came back with zero).  Car loans are considered good credit.  If he makes his payments on time and in full, he'll have a good credit record in a year.  A week after buying the car, he went off for a week-long training session so that he can get a better job than pizza delivery.  One that pays better and won't kill his new car.

And then came this week.  He's been yearning to move out on his own and finally has the ability to do so.  He found a little apartment (and I mean tiny), did the application and paid the fee.  I was guarantor on this as well with the understanding that he would NOT leave me hanging on the rent.  He gave me a look and said "Mom... you know me better than that."  I do, but I wanted to be clear - this is HIS deal, not mine.  The application was accepted and the Monday after the training session, we signed a lease until the end of July for this place.

He went home and started packing, deciding what to take and what to leave behind.  His bed would go.  His computer.  A book shelf.  A few books.  Clothes.  The necessities.  Then it was time to think about the non-essentials.  He looked through his books and stuff in his closet.  And he looked at Fuzzy for a long time.  Fuzzy had seen him through so many things from the time he was four on.  Scary nights.  Bullies.  First airplane ride.  First spend-the-night at the grandparents' house.  Hurricanes.  Fuzzy started out as a beautiful little bear, but like the Velveteen Rabbit, time and love have worn him down.  Most of his curly fur is gone.  He wears a little t-shirt with a design my boy made for him and sits high on the bookcase ever-watching as endless D&D games are played, papers written and pizzas consumed.  His wise little eyes take it all in, so you can see how when he was considered - sitting up there on the shelf - as to whether or not he would accompany the essentials to the new apartment, I held my breath.  For now, Fuzzy stays but I suspect he'll wind up in the apartment sooner or later.  My boy may be a man now, but that little boy still lives in there somewhere and he wouldn't forget his friend.

We shopped for dishes and curtains and a small vacuum cleaner - things that make a house liveable.  Thrift shops offered up a teapot, a toaster oven and, of all things, an egg beater.  He collected his treasures in his new car.  We drove out to the farm to borrow the truck and the next day, we loaded it down with the furniture he was taking and prayed the rain would hold off until we could get there and unload it.  His father came home early from work and we headed out.

Let me tell you just what a labor of love this moving of the kid was...  The new place is on the third floor - no elevator.  I'd been pretty inactive for the last four months, finally released by my doctor the previous Friday.  The neighbors must think a steam engine was coming up the stairs from all the huffing and puffing I was doing.  His father and he carried most of the stuff up while I built the desk we'd bought, and when it was all upstairs, my son took his father home while I stayed behind and putzed about putting the bathroom together, hanging curtains and doing a general putting away of things.  He returned and we worked companionably for a bit before exhaustion made us irritable.  I told him he could tell me to go when he was tired of me being there, and I left soon after - mostly because I was tired. He came by the house a bit later, realizing that he hadn't actually brought any clothes with him.

And it was done.  My chick has left the nest.  It was oddly quiet.  No keys in the lock between 11pm and 1am.  No loud stair-climbing or rolling around in his chair into the wee hours of the morning.  It was so quiet.  I could barely sleep.  While my mind is calm and knows that this is what is supposed to happen, my body is panicking.  Where is my boy?  Is he safe?  Will he take care of himself?  I lie in the recliner, heart racing, head hurting and I wonder briefly if I'm about to have a heart attack.  I'm not.  I'm having an anxiety attack.  The kind you have when you know someone you love is out from under your protection and is now vulnerable to whatever the world chooses to throw at them.  Eventually, I wear myself out and fall asleep.

I'm sure this will get easier.  It is the way of things.  Children grow and spread their wings - and you have to trust that you have given them all the tools they need in order to fly.  The goal of child-rearing (in my opinion) is to raise a competent, kind, and productive adult and then turn it out into the world to find his or her own place in it and to thrive.  I think my husband and I accomplished that. 


  1. Beautifully written. You have done well. He will do well. And all will be well and all will be well and all will be well.

  2. Nooo! That isn't possible! You did such a good job, he will be fine! I know it doesn't make it easier, but we're all here for you!

  3. Yes, this is all true but they multiply and come back. With animals.

  4. It is so hard to watch them leave. But you did good and he will thrive. Once the anxiety subsides (and it will) you will love watching him grow and mature into the good man I know he'll be.


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