Cutting cords while trying to hold it together

Last week, Younger Son got his first job. He’ll be working with a local landscaper, which will be good for Younger. He’s a hands on kind of kid and likes to keep physically busy. He was a little worried that his busy summer schedule would interfere with being able to get a summer job, but he got lucky and found an employer that was willing to be flexible. And, it’s close enough that he can ride his bike to work. Score!

Yesterday, he turned 16 and got his first paycheck, and I’m feeling a little strange about that. Tonight I need to take him out to buy steel-toed work boots and gloves. He’s my baby, and now he’s my gainfully employed, man-sized, baby. Uff-da.

Older Son is 18 now, and is looking for a job that will provide him more hours this summer. And, he still wants to hang on to his current part-time job.  I didn’t feel so terrorized when he got his first job two years ago because I knew that he needed to do that in order to learn how to get along in the world. Older Son was always more shy, less able to put himself out there and try new things. I pushed him and made him get a job because I understood that it would be good for his self-esteem to earn the paycheck, and he’d learn useful skills.  I’m happy to say that having a part-time job has had exactly the desired effect…he’s really come a long way and is nowhere near as shy as he used to be.

Recently I purchased a new-to-us vehicle, so that Older Son would have some independence in getting back and forth to school and work.  Now, he’s not exactly pleased with the choice I made in vehicles. What I would have liked to get him, and what he’d have LOVED to have is something like this:

Desirable, but not affordable

What he ended up with is a 1978 Dodge Adventurer SE. We affectionately call it The Beast:

So, while it wasn’t what he dreamed of, it’s something that gets him around until he can afford the vehicle he wants. Younger Son instantly fell in love with this rumbly old beater, and is terribly jealous. I’ve promised him that he can use it when Older gets a his own. I’m hoping it will only be another year or so until I can hand that over to him.

So, with all of the comings and goings, my little family isn’t going to see much of each other anymore. It makes me terribly sad that time has flown by and, all of a sudden, my little boys are now grown men. It gives me the nervous twitches just thinking about that fact that in another three years, I will most likely be the only one living at home.

I was talking with my Sister-by-Choice last night about how strange it is to sit alone in your house when your children are away from home with their other parent. When my kids are away from home, I experience a strange juxtaposition of emotions where I feel freed up to do any freaking thing I want (whoo!), and yet I feel paralyzed for wondering what they are doing and worrying if they are ok or not. When they finally come home, no matter how long they’ve been gone, I always feel myself breathing easier. Letting go of this kind paralysis-inducing worry is definitely something I am going to have to teach myself how to do. Imagine what it will be like when my kids leave home for good? I’ll have to get hobbies, and lots of them. Good thing I will have Harley around to keep my company.

Now, while I’m helping my kids grow up and become responsible people, I feel like I am handing them the scissors to cut apron strings with. In Younger Son’s case, I think he was born with a hatchet in his hand, and gleefully chops every apron string I own as soon as he discovers another one tying him down. He’s the one that is yearning to get out in the world, who isn’t afraid to put himself in new situations. He’s the one I feel like I need to hang on to a little tighter because he has no fear.

And yet, I give him the tools he needs and I stand back and watch him go.

I suppose that is the appropriate way of things, and bucking the system won’t get me very far. But, I’ll try to get away with it…just for a little longer.

9 thoughts on “Cutting cords while trying to hold it together

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  1. it may be bittersweet, but think of all the money you will save on gas! He can pay for his own now…

    Even though my babies are babies, I can’t imagine the day when they start leaving the nest for long periods of time…

    1. Jamie, it’s so funny you should say that. I had been sitting in the truck and turned the engine on so I could see how all the bells and whistles work, and he said to me, “Mom, can you please shut it off, your burning my gas!” Big turkey! lol….

  2. Children leaving is what we worked so hard for all those years…raising them so they can go out into the world and make thier mark…and yet we forget to remember that and so when they are going or gone it is shocking.

    Love the truck too…ME=City girl through and through that wishes she was a cowgirl riding shotgun next to a cowboy some times. 🙂

    1. Aimee, if I were ever to consider letting a man into my life again (and that’s a terribly BIG “if”), I think I would be ok with a cowboy. The next guy that decides he wants to be part of my life has to at least be handy!

    1. No kidding, Mark. They grow up so fast, I feel like I missed a bunch of it because I blinked too much!

      Truthfully, I like the truck too. For some reason, I really, really adore old pickups. When the boys are done with it, I’m not sure how I am going to part with it!

  3. it’s always hard….all 4 of mine are on their own….and grandchildren not always available, and there I was in Walmart in the middle of the Easter decorations, crying for there was no one with wide eyed enchantment waiting to hear me tell of all the eggs that Easter bunny has to colour asnd how he was chosen and how they are hid by the children, root children, and whether to chomp chocolate ears is right or how do you approach it…and then I was asked to do the horror story of easter and so much laughter, and hugs and smell of spring…and their I was in the middle of Walmart, crying…because it will not happen this year…no one is coming home this year for Easter.

    1. Hel’wyse, I’m so sorry to hear that Easter is going to be quiet at your house this year. #1 Brother and his family were supposed to come for Easter, but they are stuck on the wrong side of the Red River, and it’s flooding. I sure we lived close enough that you and your Hubby could join us for Turkey on Easter Sunday.

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