Tag Archives: parenting young adults

A Cat and Her Boy

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This critter staring at you from the screen is named Luna. Feel free to extend her birthday greetings, as she is fifteen years old this month. She’s been a member of our household from the age of eight weeks, coming to us about the time my youngest kid was turning four. The two of them bonded immediately. She’s supposed to be my cat, but I’m the only one who signed that contract; she never agreed to the terms and conditions. As far as Luna is concerned, she has one human — the boy she helped raise.

Both of my children are good with animals, and even at such a young age, my son showed a remarkable gentleness with our tiny kitten. The two of them spent many hours playing and snuggling. It wasn’t uncommon for my son to fall asleep with the cat wrapped in his arms.

For a few months last year, Luna’s boy moved away, and I could tell she was looking for him, going to his room repeatedly. Since he returned home in late December, she’s been dogging his footsteps, so to speak. Sometimes I wonder about cat brains and what they remember. Does she know the big, gangly human she loves now is the same person as the little guy who used to drive his Hot Wheels cars around her? I think she must. But I’m sure neither of them remembers a time before the other.

The boy is considering moving away again in the fall. I hope it doesn’t break either of their hearts too much.

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She still likes to sleep in his bed. 

 

Major League Adulting

My 18-year-old son has done some major league adulting the past couple of weeks, tackling challenges that can leave even the most seasoned grown-up looking around in panic for a more adulty adult.

First, he cast his first ever vote by absentee ballot. I always vote, and have always kept my life boring enough that I was sure to be in town on election day, able to go to the polling place. Absentee voting was new to me, but between the two of us we figure out how to get him a ballot. I only helped him with the easy first step.

After he received the ballot, he earned his stars on the chart for grown-up responsibility by researching every candidate and issue before marking his selections. I didn’t realize he would have to get it notarized before returning it. But he figured out how to do this all on his own. This is the kind of thing that can shut down people much older than he is. It makes my heart sing to know that voting is important enough to my offspring that he made the effort to go find a notary by himself. I wonder how many people stop at that point in the process.

His second major bit of adulting involved an injury. He wrecked his bicycle and hurt his wrist. He messaged me a few minutes after the incident, and I urged him to go to the Student Health Center immediately. Once again, I helped him as I could through the first steps, even describing to him what I saw on Google street view to help him find the building. Once he was in the doors, though, he was on his own for the first time handling a medical emergency. I prepared myself to jump in my car and drive 95 miles right away if they wanted to send him on to the hospital. However, they sent him away with an ace bandage and the opinion that it was unlikely he had a fracture.Stymied in my frantic desire to save the day in a motherly way, I hopped on-line and ordered a box of instant cold packs delivered to his dorm overnight.

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He sent me a photo.

A few days later, my kid had a follow-up with the health center and they decided he should go get X-rays. They put an actual brace on in the meantime. This was last Friday. He messaged me saying he needed to get it done over the weekend. Again, I pulled on my SuperMom cape only to be told to pack it away. I made plans A, B, C and D for getting together with him and going for the scans at a place covered under our insurance. Then I talked to him on the phone and he was all like “I can do it at the hospital near campus. They have a deal with the school. It’s a flat $35 fee.” Oh.

Did he at least want me to drive down and go over there with him, for moral and logistical support? He didn’t see any reason for it. Oh. He did it. Got himself to the hospital, handled the paperwork and got X-rays done, all on his own. In case you’re curious about what the scan showed, I am, too. He goes back to Student Health tomorrow to find out the results.

I wish I were able to help him more, but can’t say I’m displeased at his level of competence. Whatever happens with grades and school, he’s obviously developing the skills to cope with adult life. But I’m still ready to jump in the car if he needs me.

Life on the Boomerang Roller Coaster

My empty nest didn’t last long. As suddenly as the oldest fledgling flew, they returned, with circumstantial drama and a broken heart (which, of course, hurts a mom’s heart, too.) Things didn’t work out with the new roommates nor with the significant other, and a few weeks later we now have our 21-year-old back with us.

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Aerial view of my life.

In what seems to be typical timing, everything blew up at the very moment Hubs and I were packing to leave on vacation, our first trip without kids in…oh, twenty-one years. We were scheduled to leave our house at 7:30 on a Tuesday morning. Around 8:00 the night before came the text messages followed by a tear-filled hour-long conversation in which it became clear that said kid needed to get out of their situation and return home immediately.Greyhound Bus Lines now emails me every day, believing we’re bff’s because I bought one ticket from them. Continue reading

You Can Leave, but the Mom Jokes Will Follow

I have a new hobby: tormenting my oldest child with joke messages about everything we’re changing now that said kid has suddenly flown the coop.

In my last post I mentioned that I wasted no time, sending a text ten minutes after they left the house, saying “We rented your room.” Start as you mean to go on, is my motto. I waited a few hours to message them with “I sold the rest of your stuff on ebay.”

Hubs and I now find ourselves in charge of the pets that got left behind — a cat, a rat and a hedgehog. After a couple of days, my typing fingers got busy again. I told the offspring, “Since you left us with all of these pets, Dad and I have joined a support group for custodial grandparents.”

The next message I sent included a picture, with a caption:

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We did some work on the basement. The living room is next.

 

Following that, I sent one saying, “Even with all the ‘grandkids’, we were lonely, so we got a dog.”

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“He’s really gentle with people he knows. His name is Sweetums.”

Then this: “Check out my new wheels! I traded in the minivan.”

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I think I’ll get around to the living room redesign this weekend. I have something like this in mind:

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I have a thousand ideas. I could keep this up for a loooong time. I love how the age of the Internet makes it easy to keep in touch.

 

 

We Voted

It’s Primary Day here in Missouri and I participated in one of my favorite parent-child activities. This morning, my 18-year-old accompanied me to the polls to vote in his first election. If my future is in the hands of young adults like him, I’m not overly worried.

I Voted

He not only researched every ballot issue and every candidate, but also the job duties for each office. What does the public administrator even do? Because he asked, I bothered to find out and now know that she (it’s been a she) handles the settling of estates left without a will and manages the affairs of people who are incapacitated with no family to help.

We should all be as conscientious with our votes. If having a toddler can help you appreciate anew the beauty of a daisy, having a new voter in the house can help you appreciate anew the beauty of democracy.

Back to Blogging

It’s been six months since my mom died and I disappeared into a blogging vortex. I didn’t know if I wanted to continue this blog, since it’s about sandwich generation issues and that’s no longer my life. I also felt little motivation to do anything beyond the absolute essentials of life.

Eight days after my mother’s passing, her sister followed. The two had always been close and even followed each other from city to city throughout their lives. My childhood was spent going back and forth between my home and my aunt’s, only a few houses apart. I suppose I’ve been in mourning. Do we use that word any more? I could have used some days of drawing the curtains and sitting in a dark house, with no expectations on me.

What’s happened in my life the past six months? I’m trying to remember. Settling my mom’s affairs has been an ongoing process. I’ve been working for pay as much as I can because we certainly can use the money. In May, my older kid turned 21 and my younger one turned 18 a week before graduating from high school. (As an aside, nobody prepared me for the amount of work involved in having a high school senior in the house.) I took my son on a couple of college tours and then helped him through the process of applying and enrolling at Missouri S&T, where he will soon begin his freshman year. We’ve had a car rear-ended and totaled and replaced. My 21-year-old has announced plans to quit school and move to Michigan with their significant other, and then changed course, deciding to stay in school here, while looking at the possibility of having the S.O. find a job in our area. I wouldn’t have guessed that my younger child would be the first to move out, but there it is.

I’ve  experienced many nights of fitful sleep filled with bad dreams, followed by days of pushing my zombie self through the exhaustion minute by minute. I survived my first Mothers’ Day as an orphan, not without a river of tears. And I’ve had a few happy days spent fulfilling my wish list of activities to do with my kids before they’re gone. We took a day trip to Kansas City to visit the Steamboat Arabia Museum and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. We spent a Saturday seeing the castle ruins and springs at Ha Ha Tonka State Park.

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Castle ruins at Ha Ha Tonka State Park, near Camdenton, Missouri

We drank bubble tea (it was interesting.) I tried to help my son raise a few dollars by listing his extensive Nerf collection on Ebay, but nobody bought anything.

And I came to the point where I felt like blogging again. I think I’m going to continue with this blog, shifting the focus from sandwich generation topics to the experience of parenting young adults, a phase of life that offers its own big buffet of issues.

I hope a few people will share the journey with me.