As I type this, unbelievably enough for those of us who looked at the calendar and had to adjust our glasses, there is a rather large (because they were all either too large or too small) turkey defrosting in our refrigerator.
This is the last Thanksgiving we will all spend while living together under one roof. Oddly enough, we are faring quite well. I would have thought that I’d be more broken up about seeing my firstborn go off to live with a roommate (granted, he’ll be a couple of miles away,) but the truth is that I am actually looking forward to TGG leaving. And, mind you, it’s not just because we get an extra room that we can use for other things. TGG, a grown-up with grown-up responsibilities, grates on my nerves when he starts acting like a child, and I feel it is time to cut the cord and let him sink or swim on his own.
This all started because he’d been talking of moving AWAY out of state, and -as is our usual strategy- we asked him to research what that would entail and come up with a plan of what he wants to do. TGG’s enthusiasm for things is usually frantic and short-lived. That’s why he has tried soccer, playing guitar, making short movies, weight-lifting, taking care of a Venus Flytrap, maintaining a terrarium, playing basketball, brewing beer… Ours is that house where the garage is full of easels, balls for different sports, bicycles, kits for different projects that were going to be SO AWESOME! Our library is full of books for learning other languages, methods for completing certain processes, and so on and so forth. We have harbored ladybugs, ants, caterpillars (those actually DID turn to butterflies,) praying mantises, injured baby birds, and so on and so forth.
A couple of weeks ago TGG sent a text message saying that his friend So-and-So was moving away and offered the sublet of his room in a townhouse. The rent is very reasonable considering that this is a lovely townhouse community, and TGG get his own en suite and is close to our home and work. Of course, the way this has developed has been a source of…irritation? That is to say: why don’t kids ask the reasonable, logical questions regarding renting? Why don’t they factor in things like toiletries, bed linens, groceries (you know the kind I mean…the “not-so-obvious” ones like, oh, salt?) into their budget planning? What’s worse, when you point these things out they look at you as if you just threw a bucket of cold water over them. When they say “oh, I just have a few things,” and you point out that, well, there’s more to move than their video game consoles, movies, pillows and light saber…you get the picture, right?
I know that TGG has had a rough time this year, and I think it’s time I explained fully why this is: it’s his fault, basically. You see, like every other mother of a male child, I drummed into that brain of his the notion that he doesn’t need American Express, but that -going by the company’s motto- he should never leave home without condoms. Nearly thirteen months later, we are grandparents of a bouncing baby boy we will never meet. TGG, being more responsible for the really BIG stuff than he is for the day-to-day, went to court, requested a paternity test, and attended a hearing to pay child support.
The young lady doesn’t want TGG to have a relationship with their son, and TGG has decided that it is best to respect her wishes for the good of the child, but he will be paying a not-insignificant amount in child support each month (something she claimed she didn’t want) and five months arrears.
To say that this has been an emotional roller coaster is to put it mildly. We didn’t blow up when he first heard the news because TGG is an adult. We were disappointed that he hadn’t been more responsible, but we couldn’t kill him, could we? We were surprised that the young lady was so insistent on not having contact with TGG in the midst of all this. I believe that women do have a right to choose, and -in this particular case- I’ve often wondered if she didn’t choose to have this baby because she really wanted one. I cannot say this is a fact, but I have wondered. We never met this girl, but we have to respect her wishes. Since, obviously, this was not the result of a committed, long-term relationship, we are left floundering with unresolved feelings. The least we have been able to do is remind TGG that his son is not to blame for whatever fractures there are in the parents’ relationship.
This is not the reason TGG is moving out. TGG is moving out because it’s long overdue, and we encourage him to become more independent. The one thing we are all worried about at this point is how J will react to the new status quo.
You know how J is when it comes to TGG! During the day he doesn’t bat an eyelash about his brother not being home, but at night -regardless of whether he’s been told TGG is going out, or whether the greatest caution and stealth have been exercised- J will start asking about his brother’s whereabouts in a rather insistent manner. It’s one thing to see TGG’s room empty of a human, but the absence of furniture and personal belongings might cause a problem.
At this point, I am not particularly sure that TGG DOES want to move out. There isn’t the overwhelming enthusiasm that I remember feeling and exuding when I moved away from my parents. Dada thinks the same thing: TGG is dreading more than looking forward to this move.
I am sure that the overwhelming dose of reality and responsibility that he has received lately has something to do with TGG not being over-the-moon with joy about moving. I am also sure that the numbers look daunting to him. I don’t blame him, but…
It’s time to let go. It’ll be good for him, and good for J, and good for us…