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We hit a milestone in our house this morning. Eldest turned twenty-three. This, as we’ve told him since about age twelve, means that he is now a grown-up and he can no longer live with us. We love you, we declare you officially launched, we trust you to go make a great life for yourself!
We gave kiddo a substantial financial gift that he can choose to use on boxes, a storage facility or use as part of a down payment on a home. Or he could just buy lots of nice shoes. He’s a grown up now, it’s up to him.
In truth, kiddo has been living outside of our home for years now. Even so, today is big. Today is the day we tell him (over a fancy breakfast with special plates) that we trust him to take care of himself from now on. That we know that, whatever comes, he is strong enough to handle it.
I have had friends applaud this “policy” of ours, and friends literally speechless and aghast at my unfeeling cruelty. Well, as we say so often, there are many ways to be a great mom.
Here’s why my husband and I have chosen to do this:
We have seen other friends’ children live at home, on and off, well into their thirties. We have a relative who never did leave home, with an advanced professional degree even, never have a job or a home of their own.
I want my children to have their own lives.
Do I WANT him to leave? No. Absolutely not. And I cried last night to my husband about missing my baby. And I’m crying again right now.
But I love him enough to do the tough, right thing. For him. Not for me.
As I say, our kids know about this a full decade before we ask them to go do their own lives. We WANT them to know they are going to have to make it on their own. It informs how hard they work at school, how they spend their money and what plans they make for a job. And that, in my opinion, is a good thing.
We’ll have another party here on Saturday. Cake and special food and loving friends and family. He has to have his stuff out by Sunday night (the “official policy” is out by the weekend after your 23rd birthday). I’ll probably cry some more. No, I’ll definitely cry some more.
But I will let go.
It’s part of my job. The mom job. As it turns out, the least favorite part of my job.
I’m proud of my kiddo, er, my grown-up child, er, man. I am proud of my son. And I know he’ll do great. And I will love him forever, no matter what. And I will feed him and call him and pray for him and bring his favorite Thai food over when he’s having a tough day. And I will welcome him back for holidays and Sunday dinners and Third Saturday barbeques, when he wants to come over.
And I will let go.