Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Prodigal Parent

A few weeks ago my son decided that it was time for him to move out and live on his own. I wasn't ready. My wife wasn't ready. My son, Wonderboy, probably wasn't ready, but ready or not he packed his gear and left for greener pastures. Greener pastures in this case was the neighbouring town. There he didn't need to live by the rules of the house. He could party all night and sleep all day. All he needed was a job, and he could move from a friend's couch to his own apartment.

While Wonderboy explored his freedom, my wife and I fretted. We weren't ready to be empty nesters. Vacation plans were changed, work in the upstairs was started, old bones began to complain.
All of a sudden we had issues to discuss. We were just the two of us now. That meant we needed to be more present for each other - a tough job in a life where we both work odd hours at high stress jobs. We started looking at ourselves and wondering. "Who am I when I'm not Mom or Dad?" "Who are you, and why are you still here?" These are scary questions. I help a lot of people both ask and answer them. I wasn't prepared to have them staring at me out of the mirror in the morning.

Yesterday Wonderboy came home, for a visit, he says. I can feel the atmosphere relax already. The questions move into the background, for now. They are still there. They still need to be answered. But not today.

Today I listen to Wonderboy play his video games, and think about what I will say when he packs his gear again. Will I be ready? I honestly don't know. What I do know is that I won't have a choice.

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