I’ve given my fair share of ‘change is good’ speeches to friends when required, but I have to admit, I’ve never embraced change even though I know it’s inevitable and we have to adapt.
Such was the case when my children left for university. Friends waited and watched, expecting me to fall into a deep depression, knowing my kids had been the center of my life. I surprised everyone (maybe even myself a little) when I handled the change with ease.
Am I a bad mother to admit I have a harder time adjusting to them moving back in?
University classes will be ending soon and my son will be returning for the summer.
I love him dearly. What’s not to love? But life as I know it will be over for the next four months.
My son and I have a great relationship. He calls every couple of weeks while he’s at school and occasionally we meet up on msn when he’s chatting to friends and I’m up battling my latest bout of insomnia. He always has the most unusual and interesting stories, I never know quite what to expect.The other day he said he couldn’t talk long. He was going to Slut Walk.
Great, I thought, secretly praying he wouldn’t meet a girl there. As it turned out, Slut Walk wasn’t as bad as it sounded, being a positive empowering walk, organized by a group of women, for women.
And, as it turned out, he did meet a girl there. Apparently they have a lot in common, both studying for their art degree while doing a tattoo apprenticeship.
It got better.
“Now mom,” he said. “Don’t go thinking she’s some kind of sleaze covered in big tattoos just cause she’s apprenticing in a tattoo shop. She’s really a nice girl. She’s only got five tattoos, but they’re all small and tastefully done.”
He ended the call asking if someone could pick him up after exams since he had way too much stuff to come home on the bus.
“No problem,” I said, recalling the horror last year as I watched him drag bag after bag into his room, most of which remained sprawled across his bedroom floor for the entire summer.
I learned to shut his door.
Well fast forward, he’s been back for a while now and the house has become much smaller. One day he walked by catching his father and I in a romantic embrace. “Ugh, get a room,” he exclaimed. “I don’t want to see that.”
“It is our room,” my husband bellowed back.
There’ve been some other adjustments as well. For the past eight months I pretty much kept to my own schedule. When I wasn’t at work Casey (my Brittany Spaniel) and I had the house to our selves. I worked out when I wanted and cranked my music as loud as I liked while doing housework or working on the computer. But my son keeps different hours. He explains he’s still on university time, which means I rarely crank my music, and I never vacuum before 11 a.m.
University time also means just as I’ve finished cleaning up the kitchen each morning, he’s just waking up and ready to cook his breakfast. Dinners are especially fun. Not only do I have to co-ordinate my work schedule with my husband’s golf schedule, I have to incorporate my son’s schedule for two part-time jobs. And it’s not just about the timing. It’s about what I cook. You’d think after cooking for him self for months, he’d be happy to eat whatever is made for him. But he continues to pick out the onion and turn up his nose at anything different. Once he said, “I’m not a big fan of sausage.”Isn’t he special?
I hear ya. You ‘re saying, ‘I’d be letting him cook for himself.’
Have you seen a kitchen after a twenty-one year old male cooks spaghetti? Trust me, it’s easier if I do the cooking.
Transportation has become an issue as well. My husband (despite my objections) sold our second vehicle to save on the insurance. “We only use it four months of the year,” he reasoned. Well those four months are upon us and we have one vehicle between the three of us. Things are about to get interesting.
University time for my son also means he’s going out for the night at about the time we’re going to bed. And it means he’s coming in just as I’m falling asleep.
It happened the other night. I was just about out when I heard him come in around 3 a.m.
I got up and sat with him as he wolfed down two bowls of Fruit Loops and told me about his night. As he headed to bed, Casey barked. I put her out, checked my emails, and yes, put away his cereal bowl while I waited. I headed back to bed at 4:00 a.m.
I glanced in my son’s room before closing his door and saw that he was already fast asleep. No insomnia there. I couldn’t help but smile as I looked at him, feet hanging over the edge of his bed. When did he get that big? The floor was covered with books and clothes still half-unpacked. Photos from his childhood and artwork he’d done over the years covered the walls. How fast the time had gone.
Suddenly I felt bad for feeling as I did about him moving back in. I realized in no time he’d be returning to school again. I’d feel guilty I hadn’t spent more time with him, or packed home-cooked meals for him to take back. I’d miss our talks and hearing him play the piano.
I went to use the washroom but as I went to sit down I lost my balance. My son had left the toilet seat up (again) and I fell right in.
In that instant,I recalled the day I dropped him off at university for the first time. I watched as other mothers cried as they hugged their children good-bye. I wondered what was wrong with me. Why hadn’t I been more emotional?
As I dried myself off, it hit me! Those weren’t tears of sadness. They were tears of joy!Am I a terrible mother?