Molly just dropped by, in her new car with her valid driver's license. It's not a new car, but is new to her, and her very first. She still hasn't allowed me to take her picture in or near it, because she has "looked gross" and there's no way I will be allowed to post a gross-assed picture of her on the internet. She is adamant.
That was a very strange paragraph to type, Molly was a baby just a minute ago, and knew just how to coerce her brothers into getting her a cup of juice. She'll be sixteen for another month, but she's already tested out of high school and is working full-time and taking a class at the college. This means that I am truly much older than I think I am, if she is grown up enough to have accomplished all of that already.
Michael is not out shrieking in the bushes about our nest, but it's becoming empty. Andrew has
been living in a sweet little apartment at Shayla's for a while, Paul gave notice that he's found a place and will be moving there soon, and Molly is living at her dad's and driving around being a grownup. Soon, it will be the first time in 26 years that I haven't had at least one of my kids at home, and it's tripping me out a little. My personal identity is still partially "Single mother of three" although that hasn't been the case for years now. It's a little disconcerting.
I'm really proud of her, I'm super proud of all of them . We just have one more at home who is going to be off joining the adult world very soon, and then it will be just us grownups here.
I do know though, that there is a difference between leaving your parents' home and becoming a grownup. I am an expert on this topic, I didn't complete the process until I was around forty years old. My Big Daddy spoiled me outrageously throughout my entire childhood, then helped me clean up my messes and pay for my mistakes till I was thirty.
Then he cut me off financially.
It was terrible, except that it coincided with him really learning to talk to me and let me know he loved me without pulling out his checkbook. My dad used to be extremely lame and talk about many ridiculous things. I think he must have taken a class or something, because around the time I turned thirty he was suddenly wise and I learned to respect his opinion. He did cut me off financially though, and I thought the world was coming to an end.
It took me ten years to learn that even if I had a wallet full of money right now, there was going to be rent due on the first, and PGE as well. I was financially retarded, because I had never had to figure these things out for myself. It was the kindest and best thing he ever did for me, and I'm sure it was very hard for him to do. It's much easier to keep enabling your kids to live like kids long after they have officially become adults than to tell them they're on their own now and good luck.
As that adult child I became extremely petulant about this, I was used to going to him for things that everyone else had already figured out. I resented the fact that he was no longer willing to parent me, but expected me to be a responsible adult and parent my own children. The nerve, really! If he hadn't done that I would still have no clue about what it takes to be self-sufficient and make my own way in the world.
A cousin of mine is a fifty-something year-old man, who still slams the door of his room and says "God, leave me alone mom!" and plays video games all day. Seriously, he's in his mid-fifties and lives with his parents and only exists in the land of the internet video game. I don't think he has any friends, I don't think he's ever had a love interest of any kind. He has cancer now, and may die soon. I think he's wasted his entire life, all because his parents never told him that he had to go figure it out for himself.
Three down, one to go, and then we'll be done with this phase of parenting. I'm having a cross between total emotional breakdown and planning the celebration of the century. Between dogs and children I have not gone to the bathroom by myself for almost 26 years.
Thank God we still have the dogs, I might get lonely in there.