New Steps

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"Alexander James Blackstock. Born April 12, 1993"There have been lots of phone calls back and forth with my son this month. By “lots” I mean two or three.

This is a torrent of communication compared to the previous year’s trickle of short calls and occasional texts. Like most young people, he hates talking on the phone. And like a lot of young men in their 20s, he’s not a fan of chitchatting with his mommy.

Still, I’ll take what I can get and be grateful for it. As a child he was my fun, inquisitive one. He had a face as a preschooler that made the old ladies in the grocery store prepare to pinch some cheeks. After garnering much attention during a visit to our public library, he asked me “Why am I so darn cute?” But he knew the answer to that one already.

One of my saddest moments as a parent was walking him to his classroom and having him shake off my hand. Before that, he’d always made it a point to hold my hand to escort me from the car to his classroom door. He was a tiny gentleman with courtly manners, pleased to be close to me.

Anne-Alex-graduation-2010Our recent phone calls have been about his job search. The market is bad where he lives for young men not out of college yet. He wants to work in his field, ready to do grunt work there rather than work a traditional student job in food service.

“Just come back here. You don’t have to live at home. You have friends you can share an apartment with.”

“Mom,” he says, “I really want to do this on my own.”

The biggest lesson of parenting is letting go, realizing they have dreams of their own and their own way of doing things. They are only wholly ours for the shortest time.

Enjoy that. Soak that in. As soon as they can walk, they are walking away. And that is how it should be.

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  1. I’m walking this walk with you! We are so proud of our sons – they are poised to do great things. And we want to help. But they want to do it on their own. But we are here cheering them on.

    • Anne says:

      It’s a big transition from center of the solar system to Pluto. It’s normal and good, but I’m not crazy about it.

  2. Sweet moments!
    The “wholly my own” feeling?
    I think I always felt that they were on loan, anyway.
    But those moments when they totally adored me, and I was pretty much the center of their focus?
    Those moments, I miss.

    • Anne says:

      It used to feel that the being totally responsible for everything part would never end. I spent four years total nursing kids. That closeness and necessariness feels like it will never change, until it does.

  3. You make me super appreciative of my tween son, understanding that I should not take for granted these days of frequent contact in voice, presence, gesture.

    Love the pic of you two together <3

    • Anne says:

      Tweenagers are tough. I called that time “testosterone poisoning”. That has gotten way better.

  4. What a sweet post.
    I am so blessed to have all 5 of my grown children within an hour.

  5. Letting go is not easy. But we have to do it for our children’s sake.

    • Anne says:

      Luckily, my mom did a great job. From the day I went to college, she treated my like an adult.

  6. At least yours answers his phone!

  7. I have to agree. This is very hard. I think I’m finding it harder letting go of my daughter (than I am my sons), possibly because she is so much more determined than her brothers to be independent. Can’t I keep them? Although they are kind of messy, and loud at times. Just next door would be good LOL.

    • Anne says:

      When they were little, they talked about buying houses in the cul-du-sac when they grew up and got married. I don’t think they’ll do that now.

      • I used to say that too, and now I live six hours away from my parents. I wish I didn’t though. :(

  8. It is so hard to not want to help, especially when things aren’t going well for them. There is a fine line between giving needed advice and overstepping bounds. I’ve passed this point with my older son, but don’t know how long it will go on with my younger one.

    • Anne says:

      I’ve learned most people don’t take advice anyway.

  9. Wow Anne, I didn’t realize how much you and I are in such a similar place. Mine just said over the holiday, which I think you responded to, “Not wanting to come home for long periods of time anymore Mom”. I get it! But then, the other day, he called for romance advice and I was of course thrilled. Guess we just have to wait to be invited these days. I am sure he will reach for your hand every now and then. And even need to give it a squeeze.

    • Anne says:

      That made me all teary. I know he misses me, so that helps.

  10. my 26 year old daughter lives a city away and is good about keeping in contact by phone, and meeting up for walks… my two boys (one 14, one 22) live at home… yet, when they leave, move out, i am pretty certain, days will go by without notice from either one. is that a guy thing?

    • Anne says:

      Yes! He loves the shortest text replies possible. Sometimes it’s just the letter “k”.

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