So much about being a parent is a double-edged sword. All that talk about roots and wings, you know, sooner or later you tend to work yourself out of a job. All that love and nurturing, all that wisdom and care, the payoff is that your children wander off to live lives of their own. Or so we like to tell ourselves when we feel that drift. Last week we got the call from our son. His news was that he had a job. After years of having work dropped on him by his parents, grandmother, finding tasks that suited his time as much as his talents, we were told that he had found a job working for the mechanical engineering department at his university. He had applied weeks before, and was letting us know that he would be the IT guy. He described some of the duties for which he would be responsible, such as filling the batteries with distilled water. Not exactly the highest of high tech, but considering his major is theater arts it was quite the affirming moment.
And then came the other shoe. He figured with this new job, and a potential increase in hours over the summer, that he might possibly be staying down south for the duration. My wife and I had already begun to steel ourselves for the possibility that he and his chums might go off on some hedonistic voyage over spring break. That week that we used to take family road trips has become an opportunity for him to connect with his high school pals or drive into his own adventure free from the the insistence of his parents that he see this or do that. There would be time, come summer, to boss him around a little bit.
He went and did what we had hoped that he would: He got himself a life. And it didn't necessarily have room for his parents. All that time and energy we have invested in this kid, and now he goes and ditches us.
We couldn't be more proud. Of course there are still plenty of opportunities for us to cross paths moving ahead. He's doing his own laundry now, and grocery shopping, and now he's going to have a paycheck that will start to take care of some of that expense. He has a world of his own to explore. We wouldn't want to hold him back.
Maybe just for a weekend or two...