No one prepares you for the day your kids grow up and leave the house. You raise them to be self-sufficient, and you’re there to counsel them on making decisions both bad and good – but getting used to them not being in the house will forever be strange.
I was told Millennial’s stay home until they’re thirty-something, but this typically comes from people who fail to see anyone born between 1990 and 2010 as a human being worth their respect and consideration. As a Gen-Xer born in ’71, I dealt with parents that just weren’t there; physically, emotionally, or even mentally. Babies were something that happened to them as opposed to something they planned for and this often came through in the way of emotional indifference. Here’s a tasty-cake sorry I’m late. Sit down in front of the TV I’ll be back later. I know it’s the weekend, but I worked all week, and I need some ME time, you’re staying at grand-moms.
After returning from my deployment to Kuwait I chose to settle down with someone I felt I could die with; I did put that much thought into it because I had experienced a purple-heart situation and so that sort of thing was on my mind. I didn’t anticipate getting married or having children at age 25. Shit happens, as they say, and so I bore my son Ian in ’95 and the spouse, and I exchanged vows in ’96. A Jewish Slav, my attitude toward pregnancy before marriage was this: If we could survive each other’s shit after one-year raising a child, then we’re legally meant to be. After marriage, I bore the Moog, my youngest, in ’98. I resolved to always be there for them no matter how my day went or what my work demanded of me—I was lucky to be able to telecommute.
My son was diagnosed borderline autistic, and this was back in the early 2000’s so I refused to medicate him because I felt there was nothing we couldn’t handle or work through. Sadly, we live in Austin Texas at the time instead of the Philly area where we had our kids. My refusal to medicate him and have him put in a special needs class that was wholly inefficient (because Texas) meant that the school worked against me (and him) at every turn. There were issues, some bad enough to make me want to pull him out and home school him—but my spouse refused to work with me on this and so Ian stayed.
Ian endured a lot of shit, but he came out a good person. College wasn’t for him, and this killed me. I wanted to send him to a technical school because the spouse and I were returning to PA and he didn’t want to leave his girlfriend and friends behind. He had a full-time job, benefits, and an apartment of his own and a car (we bought it for him before we left). I miss him so much. I’m not prone to expressing my emotions but typing this does bring tears to my eyes. He tried to score a new apartment recently, but they told him he makes too much money to qualify for the low-rent option, and so he opted to stay in the slum he resides in for another year. My first reaction was to offer him some assistance to get him into a better place, and then I realized—with his girlfriend not working, this would put more pressure on him and then it hit me that he’s still in food service. WTF? I want to bring him here and put him in school, but he won’t do it—he’s got his life, and he’s adamant to make it on his own.
I cannot force another adult to do my bidding, and so I sit on the sidelines and hate his life even if he thinks things are going well. In the words of the great Maggie the Cat: You can be young without money baby, but you can’t be old without it.
My youngest is in college, and we’re currently fronting the cost of their life. The road in Texas wasn’t easy for my youngest because they’re trans and the conservative nature of the school made education as difficult for them as it had been for my oldest. College has opened a new world but the ambition to get out there in it is absent in this one, and for the life of me I cannot work myself up to alter this.
My spouse is beside himself this Father’s Day because he desperately wants to invest in bringing the oldest north and putting him a different path to sustainability, but the boy assures him that he’s okay and that he’s not ready to change his life that drastically just yet. Meanwhile, the spouse is ready to fire the youngest out the window on the weekends they’re home because he feels their squandering their talent by refusing to aspire to anything that doesn’t involve the least maximum effort.
That’s my house during Father’s Day.
Complicated but not really…