An Emptier Nest

My oldest son has moved out. I haven’t seen him in days and I don’t know exactly where he is living. Only that it is on the other side of town.

Years ago, I changed the way I parented Kaleb. It bordered on being his friend which is against all the advice from smart people. But, it worked. Or at least, it kept the peace. Because whenever I tried to stand my ground as the mom, he would rebel and it was always a big thing. And not in a kids rebel against boundaries but secretly want them kind of way. But in an affected by his past and really can’t deal with it sort of way.

But, every once in a while, I don’t feel like playing the game and just want to say hey you, do this or don’t do that. Just like others mothers would or just like I do with the other three. But, when I do, it usually goes bad. He will take it as an attack when really, I’m just acting like a mom, And sometimes, when he feels strongly about it, he will angry move out at 11:30 at night while Brian and I are presumably asleep upstairs.

His take is that I knew he was moving out anyway and that he thought I was asleep. He’s right, I did know. He had told me a few weeks ago that he might move out. Then it became more likely. I understood why he wanted to and was happy for him, I told him that I wanted him to come over once a month for a family dinner and reminded him that he would still be expected at holiday gatherings. I was a little sad but mostly at peace with it. And, if I’m honest, also a little excited to get my garage/makeshift Kaleb bedroom back. 😉

But, the anticipated bittersweet departure turned into what felt like an abandonment when he left without saying goodbye.

When I called him, through text, on sneak moving, he insisted that he just assumed I was sleeping. The kid has sent me texts at all hours of the night was suddenly concerned that I get enough sleep?

I know that these things are fairly common. Or I do now that I have talked to anyone who will listen about the situation. I know that it doesn’t really matter that I didn’t do anything “wrong” because he won’t realize that until he is a parent. It doesn’t give me any power to be right, it only adds frustration to the hurt.

I believe in my heart that this too will pass and that he has no idea how much he hurt me.

He doesn’t understand that I should have been there hugging him good-bye. I should have been saying things like “make sure you always lock your door.” I should have visited him in a couple days with bath towels and pots in hand because he didn’t think to buy them or with a homemade coffee cake (I have never made a coffee cake but I could’ve learned!)

But, I didn’t get to do any of those things.

Instead, I was the one who heard all the noise, looked out the window to see the lights of a truck and paced in my room because I just didn’t know what to do. And I was the one who finally came out, only to see that it was too late, he was gone and all that was left was Antwan standing there in the hallway because Kaleb told him to lock the door and dirty dishes thrown in the sink that he had been hoarding in his room.

I feel like I have lost a son.

It’s weird to feel the absence of someone who mostly was either sleeping or gone, anyway. But, I do. I’ll miss sitting and talking to him, in the window of time before I would have to go get the kids and he would be leaving for the day. It wasn’t long but it was a few minutes to connect. And I’ll miss touching base when he came home before he headed to his room.

I am meeting him next week to transfer the title of the car to him. The one that is still registered to me but he felt justified taking, anyway. I am anxious and don’t know how it will be. I have no desire to fight and I don’t think he does, either. But, I still know it will be awkward and that hurts my heart.

But like I said, I have faith that this will ultimately be ok and it is a teenager/young adult’s job to break his parents’ heart at least once, right? But, I will forever mourn what I lost. The milestone that I didn’t get to celebrate with him. After missing so many of his moments before he came to us, I thought I had a guarantee to be there for the others. But, I was wrong.


I’m wrong a lot so I guess I should be used to it by now. 😉


4 thoughts on “An Emptier Nest

  1. I’m so sorry that this is making you suffer. For what it’s worth, he’s taking a similar approach to the one I took at his age. If my experience of the crushing anger that I felt towards the world is anything similar to his, I can only hope that recognizing that you love him unquestionably will come sooner than later. For many, that comes too late or never. I believe in him and his ability to sort things out for his survival and living a peaceful life. You are a good mom to give him that space. He can flourish; stick with him no matter what – I know you will.

    Liked by 1 person

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