Midlife wisdom and insight from Guest Blogger, Connie Wright:
Dear almost grown up sons of mine,
While you still need me for the tuition check and spending money, I know that you don’t really need me emotionally. At 20 and 22, you have full days (and nights!) filled with friends, fun, studies and stresses. You juggle your classes, social networking, parties and maintenance of your own home and selves. While I did manage to do my mothering in the small allotted time that parent’s weekends might avail me during our visits – you guys seem to be doing pretty well.
I did notice that you both had a pretty clean living space in your own bedrooms. Not sure if that was because of the descending of parents for the weekend or just the way you keep it. The community spaces in your apartments allowed me to do some clean-up and if I had more time I would have cooked –but that might have been a bit overboard – maybe. I hope your housemates didn’t mind my puttering.
But that is the small stuff – most importantly, I like the adults you have become. While you might feel you have arrived – you still have some roads to travel – and my comfort lies in that you are both pretty grounded and getting there without me and I like the paths you are on. I know you will have speed bumps and undefined paths that will cause you stresses and concerns and that it isn’t totally clear where you will end up and what exactly you will be doing – but you have shown me that you are pretty equipped to handle all that might be thrown at you.
I left each of your campuses with that bittersweet feeling. I wanted to stay and visit more, but knew that I was the intruder in a life that had a pattern to it and my presence was not part of that rhythm anymore. The bitter is coming to terms that you have those lives without me; the sweet is that you have those lives without me and as young men – this is how it should be.
I am fortunate – my days are very busy and full – I work and am involved in building a business that includes trips to major cities to work with our new offices. So my change of habits with the kids out of the house is not extreme – but there are changes none-the-less. This is a time of incredible changes – both for the you guys and for me. Having you both 1000 miles away (at different schools) makes it better (for you) because there are no surprise drop-in-visits.
The biggest area where I need to exert control is the phone calls. I just can’t call you because I miss them – who wants to talk to their mom about their day and what they did. And I’m not going to hear about some social issue that needs solving or a professor issue that I can fix for them. So my calls need to be spaced appropriate out. And timed – don’t call in the early morning – not an endearing trait to be the wakeup alarm. Too late and then its intruding on the social time and midday – well that’s class time. And I need something topical – something to tell you that is interesting or a real need to have information (so when does your driver’s license expire?).
You will come home for some more holidays – I have counted them. My oldest, you have only 2 more that I can be sure of; then you will have a job and more than likely live in another city far away. The 20 year-old you’re in a 5year program – so I have 4 more holiday seasons that I can count on – the summers – well with any luck you too will be in an internship and not home over your summers……ahh bittersweet.
Thanks for letting me share your lives these past two weekends!