Lest you think that the only transition we’re dealing with around here is J’s high school graduation and impending departure for college this fall, turning Jim and me into Empty Nesters, I figured I’d tell you about how D just moved into an off-campus house with three roommates–he isn’t coming home this summer because he has an internship–and will graduate this December, one semester early.
I can say today that everything on both fronts is going very well, but we’ve had some rocky patches over the past couple of months which prompted me to send an email to D:
“I just wanted to email you and apologize for being a little snappish lately. I’m having a bit of a hard time adjusting to the idea of J going away to school AND you making all of these changes w/ the house, finishing school, etc. You guys growing up and all of these things happening at the same time all this year is making me very emotional and I’m trying to deal with it as best as I can but it’s hard…”
Things are balancing out now, and I’m not nearly as emotional (for the moment, anyway). This is all happening exactly as it’s supposed to, and I am starting to embrace it all. Cautiously.
Yesterday Jim and I drove up to the house in Wisconsin, delivering a huge, pre-owned television D and his roommates chipped in to buy from a friend. D was excited to show us the whole house but especially his new bedroom, which is bigger than his old dorm room and all his, and we planned to stick around for a while to hang some blinds and help him get things set up.
I had seen the outside of the house before, but never the inside. I braced myself, guessing that what I was about to see was going to be the “classic” college guy kind of place: the same house you see in college movies. And it was.
Though it’s not a fraternity house, all four boys are fraternity brothers and so there are items featuring their two Greek letters in just about every room. There are three couches (two of them sleeper sofas, even) in the living room, and the huge kitchen features a long table with lots of chairs and a long bench. (The previous tenants left almost all of the furniture in the house!) The ice maker in the freezer is broken but the lever you move to turn it off is missing so it still makes a horrible racket every now and then as it tries to draw water into the system. One of the bedrooms used to be the extra-large porch (the landlord walled it in), and there is wood paneling all over the place. Where there is paint, the walls are all dinged up and really, just a mess. The main bathroom–with its pink and baby blue tiles and ancient flooring–is pretty much what I expected. The basement is a little scary to me but has a tiny room off to the side that contains a poker table and two containers of chips. There’s a washer and a dryer down there, and–on the other end–more game tables and a bar. The house is old and outdated and worn and in need of some serious attention…and the perfect place for a bunch of twenty- to twenty-one-year-old guys to live while they finish up their time in college and get ready for the real world. THIS is the training ground for the real world.
That’s why, after seeing all of that, I was at peace. My kid’s excitement was contagious. I find myself amused by the house and totally stoked for my son, thrilled that he gets to live there. I know that this house is where he will learn so many lessons–including some that I know I won’t want to hear about so let’s not talk about those. He has even taken it upon himself to be the house representative to the landlord and will make sure the utility bills and rent get paid, (That kind of thing runs in the family…) meaning he will have some great experience in dealing with the kinds of things we adults do every day, and he gets to do it on training wheels, while Jim and I can still step in and provide assistance if he asks for it.
I don’t know…maybe we’re all growing up!