Family Minus One

Annah Elizabeth2 Comments

In my last post, I spoke about recent concerns with my college-aged son. He’s not very happy with me right now. As such, he hasn’t called home in over a week. He didn’t return my “Just calling to say ‘hi,’ and to tell you I love you,” call. Only a brief, all-you-need-to-know response to a question I texted him. I guess he’s pouting, or flexing his almost-adult muscles. And, I’ve not doubt, he’s trying to find himself, his new self, right now.

I don’t have a problem with him being gone, but I must say, I am not liking this near-complete void, the silence. I find myself wishing I could hear his voice, even for a minute. I miss his playfullness, “I’m your favorite son. I know. By default.” That was a joke between us this summer. He began asking, in fun, “Who’s your favorite child? Huh? Huh?” He’d wink or tease me on the phone.

“I don’t have favorites,” I’d reply. “Oh, yes you do, everyone has favorites.”

“You are all my favorites for different reasons.”

“No, you have to have one favorite. It’s me, right?” Wink. Wink.

“Okay, Son. Yes. You are right. You are my favorite.” Hmmm. Yes. There are different types of favorites. And right now, you are my favorite asshole. “I won’t say which favorite you are.”

“Ah. I’m your favorite by default, huh?” He chuckled.

I miss that banter. I miss his humor. Okay. I hate his silence. This morning I thought about a woman I know and have the greatest respect for. She once said to me, “My husband told our boys, ‘Talk to God every day and call your mother weekly.’ He also told me that I can’t have it both ways; that I’d raised them to be independent, so once they went to college I couldn’t take it all back and want them to be dependent on me.”

She and I shared a laugh over that. She knows that I’ve tried to raise my children to be independent. So, yes. I can’t take it all back. Basically, my feelings are hurt. What, the only thing he wants from me is my money, now? Uh, huh. I feel you smiling. You’ve had that very same thought, at one time or another, haven’t you? I know your head is nodding with appreciation, if you have a child over the age of nine or ten, especially if you have, or have already raised, a teenager or two.

This, too, shall pass. These moments have been coming in and out of our lives for years now. When we’re faced with them, they’re rather uncomfortable. And, when we’re not facing them, we forget how those instances make us feel.

Speaking of feeling. I know the adjustment is equally hard on my other two children. I never gave it a thought until my daughter made several stray comments earlier this summer about her brother moving away. He has only contacted her a couple of times since leaving. Such a balance, a learning, a growth, when one member of the family leaves home. We have to adapt to the family minus one, to grow, to learn to live our lives differently than we had before. It is, in essence, the end of our family as we have known it to be. It is different. We are no more a household of five. We are four, plus one transient.

And, from what I’ve heard, when he comes home from college for summers and vacations, our lives will, yet again, take on an entirely different look and feel! 😉 For we will all be different when that time comes…


2 Comments on “Family Minus One”

  1. I miss the last of my children to go to college badly. I miss the greeting, the look around the computer cabinet door and the grunt hello when I would come home from work, the hysterically funny stories and teacher imitations he would do and act out to make me smile. Last week I drove up to the house and started crying when I remembered that when I would go in, he would not be home. He calls very little, trys to get off the phone fast when he does deign to answer the phone, doesn’t answer texts like he used to. He is having a ball, has friends, is doing well in class and has said he is happy to be on his own. He was ready. I am happy I succeeded in raising an independent and secure child, but like you, it has been hard getting used to his absence.I know from my other two, they come home for Christmas subtly changed forever…they are adults, they are never totally yours again. I am trying very hard not to feel superfluous. I had the job of Mom for 25 years; I wasn’t ready to retire.

  2. Thanks, Elise, for sharing this with me! it is nice to hear from others! I believe that communication and networking are among a parent’s greatest gifts!

    I believe we will always be Mom. Our roles will change a bit, but I do hope that if my children need help in their adult lives, they will feel they can come to me! 🙂

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