Thursday, February 24, 2011

Enter the Lair

If you have been following my blog over the past few weeks (I thank you, if you have been) you are aware that I have one child, a son, age 19 in nine days.  He has chosen not to attend college this year in lieu of trying to start a technology business.   I don't begin to understand what he's doing.  He has attempted to explain it to me a few times and I hang in there with him until the third of fourth sentence, at which time my eyes glaze over and my brain becomes mush.  I try to understand, I really do, but the things he is talking about are so far out of my frame of reference that I can't.  I just can't.  Moreover, while I want to be involved in his life, computers and applications and all of those glorious technological wonders hold no interest for me whatsoever.  I enjoy my cell phone and my computer, but I don't need to know how it all works.  I don't care, as long as they do work.

My son has his own space in the basement of our home.  It is a walk-out basement so he can come and go at his leisure.  He checks in with me once in a while and we visit about how things are going for both of us but mostly he is on his own.  He prepares his own meals when he is home.  He's done his own laundry for years.  He is responsible to clean up his space and, while it's not like I would do it, it is liveable and not a safety hazard.  I don't go to the basement often, except to do laundry.

We moved to this house and this community a few months ago.  My son's version of packing was to throw his clothes in trash bags (everything except the hanging clothes).   It was a very efficient means of transporting his earthly possessions (much easier to fit in his car than boxes) to our new home.  My problem with it is:  a lot of his clothes are still in the bags, stacked in the corner.  When I asked him if we could give those things away since he wasn't wearing them anymore, his response was a resounding NO.  My next suggestion was to offer to wash, dry and fold them for him so that he could use what was there.  He thanked me very politely and said he would take care of it.  

I have tried to ignore the bags.  I have told myself that it's his stuff and he's a big boy, able to take care of it.  I know this is MY issue, not his.  I want to wash, dry and fold those clothes!  So, this morning, while he is not here, I am doing my son's laundry.  This is not the first time I've done this.  I washed a couple of bags a few weeks ago.  He noticed within a few days and told me that I had messed up his system, but he wasn't too upset about it.  

As a parenting instructor and teacher of children for many years, I know that what I am doing is NOT what I would advise other parents to do.  I have told myself the same thing for quite a while.  They are his things, not mine.  They are in his space, not mine.  It doesn't hurt anything to have the clothes in the bags.  

Maybe it's that there are very few things that I can do for my son now that he is "grown up."  His choices are his own and he will have to live with the consequences, good and bad, of those choices.  Gone are the days when he runs to me with all the problems of his life.  Maybe doing his laundry is just a way to care for my son.  One day all too soon he will move out of my home permanently and I won't be able to do even this for him.  It doesn't mean I won't try or I won't be there when he asks.  He must live his own life and I'm OK with that.  I'm ready for that--most days.  Maybe today I just need to be with him in the only way I can--doing his laundry.  I'm pretty sure I'll be over it by tomorrow!

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