Fly little birdie

Fly little birdie

Today was a hard day. My son—my tech consultant—is away at college. And I needed to buy a printer.

The one we bought together, four years ago, died.

Just. Quit. Working. Finis.

The kid is 1,700 miles away, so I was determined to solve the problem on my own.

I should admit that this son of mine has not only been my tech consultant. He also been the “man of the house”—since he was 10.

I don’t feel great about that, but, hey, that’s how it was.

But now, I’m on my own. And rather than calling him for help, I drove over to Best Buy. I chose a printer. I brought it home.

But when I set up this foreign printer object—and realized that I had purchased no ink—I was pissed. I blamed myself. And yes, I slightly blamed him. For going away.

Angry—and impatient—I set back out in the car.

I tried to let go of my anger and my impatience.

And then—I rear ended the car in front of me.

My car leaked coolant and other liquids. And I leaked tears.

Why was today so hard?

Because, as my son said when I called him, “I’m your person. And you are mine.”

Life, these days, is complicated. The house is empty of that boy of mine.

I solve my own problems, as I should. I keep the dog alive—instead of the baby—and I build a life. 

But when things go awry, I realize how deep is the hole in my heart.

What—my fellow mothers and fathers—is to be done about that?

Let them go. No matter how badly we want to remain connected, we must send our little birdies out of the nest. Even if they say they need us, or we believe we need them, it’s better to cut the cord.

Show them strength. As much as my son wants to be needed, I know he also wants to be free. So, the best I—or we—can do, is to show our kids that we can solve our problems without their help. So today, after I called him crying, I said: “Dude, I’ve got this. Don’t worry.”

Trust their judgement. My kid gave me actual advice today. He said—and I wrote it down—“Mom, you’ve got this. You taught me: that car is just a thing. Just breathe.”

Let them need you. But after being all strong, he also said this: “Mom, what concerns you, concerns me. At some point, you’ll also have to talk me down. I’m counting on you for that.”

Our kids are figuring out who they are in the world.

Meanwhile, my car will be in the shop for at least a month. And I will rent one, or ride my scooter. Or I will stay home, and write.

I miss that kid. I miss his wisdom and his humor and his panache.

But I can do this. I will be fine on my own.

And so will you.

Do the hard thing

Do the hard thing