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:
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.