It’s time I started writing for this blog, and no better time than tonight. This thing has been live for months now with nary a post… barking at me, hounding me…
I started this as a creative outlet as I transition to my next phase in life: Empty Nest Syndrome Survivor
I have been joking that I am really looking forward to suffering Empty Nest Syndrome. In fact, I want to be the poster child for Empty Nest Syndrome. But I haven’t really had much to write on this blog yet because the nest is still full for now (when he does finally move out, it will require a blowtorch to clear out the basement and remodel for the pool table and wet bar I have in mind). But tonight… tonight I had my first full taste of what is to come.
Even though The Kid just turned 18 and graduated from high school six months ago, and even though he still lives in my basement… he chose to have Thanksgiving dinner somewhere other than with us. This is the first Thanksgiving dinner I’ve ever had without him at the table.
Let that sink in for a while, all you moms of teens and younger kids.
But here is the more surprising part of the night for me: I made peace with it. I did everything I could to raise him to be independent and think for himself. I also have tried to model the motto of walk the talk. What does this mean? I was really hurt at first… how could he not have Thanksgiving with us? Is he trying to hurt me? But then I realized that I had put unspoken expectations on him the same way our parents had done to us. I was already laying on the guilt trips of always having to do exactly as others expect without having the voice or opportunity to express his desires.
So I asked him very nicely if he would spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with us as a family, and he said yes. It dawned on me that from this point forward, he is no longer automatically mine. I have to respect his ability and right to choose how he wants to spend his holidays. Hopefully those holidays will be with me and his dad, but I know that won’t always be the case. I know that often won’t be the case as time goes on.
Deep breaths. In… out…
In the end, we had a wonderful evening with friends we love dearly (also not with their young adult children), drinking bourbon and wine, stuffing our faces, and screaming at the TV while the Hawks crushed the 49ers. I can get used to this… maybe.