Around the age of 16, a record began to play in my head, “When I turn 18, I can leave and no one can stop me.” As the day drew closer, I didn’t have it all planned out and really wasn’t ready to make that final leap into adulthood just yet. But, only a few short months later that’s exactly what happened. I moved out.
Given my personal experience, it should have come as no surprise to me that the notion of my eldest child moving out would instantly become the subject of many heated discussions right after he turned 18. For the last 2 months, on a weekly basis someone has threatened to force that move into a reality. It was usually triggered by a certain declaration of independence from said 18 year old that is quite similar to what my then-3 year old nephew used to say (see post title).
Memories of my own departure flooded my thoughts and I frantically tried to mediate. I was torn. On one hand, I knew this was inevitable and I knew that he was mature enough to do it. Truthfully, there have been days I secretly wished he’d carry through with his threats. On the other hand, I wasn’t quite ready to let go of that last strand of that last rein. But if it were to happen, I wanted it to be different for him. I didn’t want it to be a decision made in the heat of an argument. I wanted it to be somewhat thought out and, more importantly, on good terms.
This past week has been much calmer and has given me the chance to reflect upon the young man he has become. He’s working harder than ever and has a defined path to success firmly in mind. He’s going to school full time while holding down two jobs. He’s continuing the same fast food job he’s held for nearly two years while putting in 40 hours at his “office job” where he’s learning some invaluable lessons about debt and personal finance.
His ambition is mind blowing. Even with his current work load, he’s constantly exploring any and all revenue-generating ideas. Whether its wrapping his prized sports car in an advertisement for a local attorney or meeting with a friend to discuss a new “business opportunity” involving a yet-to-be-identified product or service, if there’s money to be made, he’s going to make it.
Yes, the fruits of our parental labor are starting to materialize. He’s a self-reliant, motivated, hard-working young man who is doing precisely what we’d hoped he would at this stage of life. He’s challenging himself to exceed any and all limitations, self imposed or otherwise.
And just like that, we are all looking at the impending move in an entirely different light. Bret and I have accepted that it is both an inevitable and necessary rite of passage to be celebrated. He’s made it! We’ve done it! Woo hoo!!! It will be hard when the actual time comes, but we know our job hasn’t ended. We also know that God has great things in store for him. In the mean time, we’ll continue holding our breath and, as necessary, our tongues.