Parenting Two Point Oh


My kid moved out. Moved on. Moved away. 

Which roughly translates to "she grew up."

I didn't see it coming. I've got a particularly large set of empty-nest blinders on and they're hard to see through.

She's a sly one, that Ken. I'm pretty sure she's been plotting this move since the moment she realized I was never going to stop walking around the house buck arse naked. She's a smarter, cleverer version of myself and frankly, if I knew that's how children could turn out, I may have rethought the whole procreation business all those years ago. 

It all started shortly after I stopped blogging to take a short break. (Ha.)

She graduated from high school, went to India and then upon her arrival back home, she immediately moved into a dorm. She basically grabbed her diploma with one hand and her independence with the other, at the same time.

She transitioned from teenager to adult like a fish takes to water. *I* may not have been so graceful. Apparently, I had some co-dependency issues to work on. (If you picture me moping around the house while tearing up at odd moments and whispering "Mah baybeee," like a crazy woman, you have a fairly accurate depiction of what I was like in the first few weeks of her absence.)

It wasn't all horrible. Once we got through the first six months of her away at school and not being under my thumb, er, ROOF, things relaxed a bit. 

Of course, the school year is only 8 months long and six months into it I may have started looking forward to her coming back home, sitting next to me on the couch to watch reruns of Gilmore Girls and while she notices the complete similarities between Lorelai and myself. I would ply my daughter with home cooked food and braid her hair and she'd wish she would never have to leave the sweet confines of our cheery home.

Clearly, I forgot how an 18 year old thinks.

My daughter, probably after noticing the twitch in my eye whenever I started talking about semester end and coming home, did the only sensible thing she could: She found a well paying job that took her FAR FAR AWAY from home, for most of the entire 4 month break she had.

She popped in through out the summer; under the guise of visiting with me, but really, I'm sure it was so she could keep offering an escape route to her little brothers. I'm pretty sure I overheard her telling them what life was like as an adult but I coughed really loudly and offered the boys ice cream to distract them from any of that dirty talk.

Summer ended, fall began and school started once more. Nash had graduated high school earlier that spring, but perhaps after witnessing the grace and ease I had displayed when his sister moved out (the repeated viewings of Gilmore Girls until even Knox could quote the dialogue from every episode seemed to frighten him) he decided to stay at home and commute to the city as he started his post secondary journey.

Ken, however, was ensconced in the dorm so I consoled myself with the fact that 8 months isn't forever. She'd be home once more, soon enough.

As the months ticked by, I would be sure to send her thoughtful text messages asking her how she was and if she needed anything, but I won't lie, the occasional "I've fallen and I can't get up and if you never come home the dog will be forced to eat my desiccating carcass to survive," text may have slipped through.

(I'm a work in progress. Letting go isn't easy.)

The calendar page finally landed on April and with it, an end to the semester and campus residency. Visions of Netflix bingeing with my daughter danced in my head. I tried to play it cool. I'm loose. I'm good. I've worked through my dependency issues. My kid is an independent adult who works hard to provide for herself and her future and no, I won't squeal like a schoolgirl when she asks me to move her home. I will be BETTER than that.

I won't even make her make her bed every morning, I tell myself. I'll just make it for her when she's not looking. 

It's going to be the best

In my excitement to have Ken back I forgot one small fact: My kid is an independent adult who is working hard to provide for herself and her future. And she's almost 20. (How did that happen?!) This kid ain't coming home. She found herself an apartment and a summer job or two and she's working hard to be the person she was meant to be. The person I raised her to be. 

I'm super proud of her, even as I mourn the fact she's likely never going to live with me again. She's ready to be free. Her wings are flapping hard and furious as she soars away from me. Just as they should be.

Adulting is hard. Being a parent to an adult is weird and there is no manual for it. Okay, there probably is, but I've never been one to read instruction pamphlets and I avoid the self-help section of the bookstore like it carries the bubonic plague. I like to make life as hard as possible for myself, it seems.

These past two years, as she's been away at school, growing up, without me, I've been learning how to loosen my grasp on the parental controls and learn to spectate while supporting. It's a new type of parenting I'm trying. It requires less smothering and more standing back and encouraging.

I still love her so much I've thought about having a life-sized cardboard cut-out made in her image to chain to her childhood bed, here at home. My therapist says I'm a work in progress. 

So this week I'm helping my kid move into her very first apartment. 

Next week, I'm going to send my son over there so he can see life from the other side. Life from the adult side, without your mom telling you to stop wiping Cheetos dust onto the pants she just laundered for you.

This is what personal growth looks like, everyone. I went from fearing them leaving to pushing them out.  

Besides which, at this point, I'm starting to worry Nash may never move out and I'm tired of him hogging the Xbox.