It’s completely my fault. They remind me constantly it’s how I raised them.
They look like a couple of normal college kids, right?
Don’t let the image fool you. I’m pretty sure they have the skills to serve as top-secret espionagers.
Before my empty-nester days, I prided myself in knowing all the details of the secret lives of my four kids. Then two of them went off to college, and I felt more out-numbered by this younger duo than I did with all four. These two could get their story straight with barely a glimpse across the room. We call them…the uni—mind.
My empty nest has done nothing to diminish the outnumbered feeling. In fact, now that they are young adults living three hours away, the cahoots they’re in involves more than staying out after curfew or which one stole my secret Little Debbies stash. Now it includes covering up adult things—like surgery.
One innocent Thursday, I expected my two college kids home sometime in the evening. Instead, I received a call admitting a change in plans. “I won’t be home tonight, mom, because I’m having surgery in the morning.” What’s more, she didn’t need me to come. That would just be weird.
It was a minor procedure to remove a small bone chip in her knee that had been bothering her for some time. I knew about the chip. I didn’t know about the surgery. Still, this Roaring Mom had a major freak-out. My son, at nineteen years old, would be going with her to check her out after and drive her home. Everything was taken care—except the huge taffy-pull on my heart that happens when your kids no longer need you for stuff that you need them to need you for.
I had a way around it, though. I called my son, one-hundred percent certain he wouldn’t want the responsibility. The call went something like this:
ME: So, what’s the plan tomorrow morning?
HIM: What plan?
ME: I need you to tell me what’s happening tomorrow.
HIM: (Hesitantly) I don’t know. What do you think is happening tomorrow?
It went on like this for five minutes.
The loyalty of the uni-mind is strong. Not even the I-gave-birth-to-you could crack it.
Apparently, however, what had worked (maybe too well) was my daily repeated mantra from their childhood: You-guys-were-born-16 months-apart-on-purpose-so-you-could-keep-each-other-entertained-so-go-play.
I’m continually blamed for their independence and strong will and opinionated voice. “You told us to be true to ourselves. You told us to be independent. You told us not to make decisions based on what other people think.”
It is mindboggling, satisfying and terrifying to watch them grow up. The surgery went fine, and I survived not being there for it. So, if this bit of adulting is my fault, I’ll take the blame.
But moms, even when they no longer need us for what we need them to need us for, we shouldn’t let go too much. In the midst of my freak-out and my son’s assurance that they “got this”, he paused just long enough to let me know he’ll always need me for something.
HIM: You should be proud that we are mature and responsible enough to handle this. Oh, and while I have you on the phone, can get twenty bucks for a haircut?
Roaring Mom Win! I think I set a speed record on Square Cash.
You know, if he’d been really smart, he would have asked for fifty right then.
Guess my work isn’t done after all.