Some parents can’t wait for their kids to move out. Others talk nostalgically about the patter of little feet or living with exciting, high-drama teenagers. Me? I wouldn’t know. I still have my twenty-something sons living under my roof. And although I know this situation’s temporary, here are 5 things I’ve grown to love…
They’ve come into their own – There’s no way to sugarcoat this. Both my boys were “grade-challenged” in high school. Being musicians, they had no interest in standardized testing, textbooks or lectures on Darwinian theory.
During those years I bribed, threatened, cajoled, and begged them to apply themselves… to no avail.
Finally, at my wit’s end, I did the only thing left. I prayed to the universe. Please, I asked, show them (and me) my sons’ own brand of genius. Who are they besides good kids who make lots of noise in my basement?
And what do you know…the universe answered.
By divine intervention, both guys graduated high school and squeaked into local colleges. And then something even more wondrous happened.
Sensitive, perceptive Patrick found his calling in psychology. He now counsels special-needs teenagers. And even more incredible, the guy who was allergic to classrooms is going for his masters.
My youngest son Paul who loved to taste, smell, and touch anything (much to my horror during his childhood) found his passion in cooking. He’s now finishing up culinary training.
And this leads me to the next nice thing about having them home…
The free goods and services — I’ve written before about the miraculous luck of having a son who knows his way around a kitchen. I’m still pinching myself over pointing to a picture on Pinterest and asking, “Can you make this?” Paul will nod, buy ingredients, cook a perfect meal and clean up. Need I say more?
What I could never have predicted was having an on-site therapist. “I’m having one of those days when I feel everyone’s doing better than me,” I grumbled to Patrick recently. He calmly explained. “That’s normal. We all have that. The trick is not comparing. Run your own race.”
This was from the kid who used to jump on furniture. Many times over the past year Patrick’s rational, soothing presence has talked me off the ledge.
I’ll miss that.
They’re off the payroll (mostly) — Youngest Paul still needs help since he’s a student, but Patrick’s financially independent. He works full-time and from car repairs to clothing, pays his own way. I’m proud of that. Meanwhile, he’s saving to rent his own place.
Will he pass up a free meal at a fancy restaurant? Did any of us at his age? No. And yes, he’s not shy about ordering the more high-priced items on the menu, something his budget doesn’t allow. But in the way our parents treated us, Randy and I have grown to like treating our guys.
Maybe someday they’ll spoil us from time to time. I can dream, can’t I?
Their music – Sometimes I’ll walk into the kitchen in the early morning. The light will be hitting the room just right. Patrick’s strumming his acoustic before going to work. It sounds so sweet.
Paul plays drums in the basement, which I admit, is a different vibe than hearing “Landslide” on the 6-string. But even these sounds have grown on me. That steady percussion is like our house’s heartbeat.
I love these impromptu concerts. I’ll miss them.
My sons are good company – Sometimes my kids and I will sit around the table just shooting the breeze. We’ll laugh over old memories. We’ll debate politics. We’ll catch up on friends and classes and work. And without fail, I always walk away grateful. I not only love my kids, but like them.
And yes, someday they’ll be gone…
Randy and I will be cooking our own meals. I’ll have to work out life’s dilemmas on my own. The house will be quiet without guitars and drums.
A big part of me is ready. I’m already eying Patrick’s space for a much-needed guestroom.
But another part is sad. A long, wonderful era will be over, the years I lived with my children.
And there’s one more emotion hiding underneath — relief. I wasn’t sure what to expect during those tumultuous high school years. I wasn’t sure how my boys would turn out.
But to their everlasting credit, they made it. They became men, and good ones at that. I couldn’t be more proud.
Thank you, Universe.
Do you have an almost-empty nest? Comments are always welcome and if you like, please share. Thank you!