Letting A Son Spread His Wings

It’s official. My husband and I are now keepers of an empty nest.

The chick has sprouted wings. His first attempts at flight may be clumsy and erratic, but he’s out there flapping happily and trying to stay aloft. While he’s not quite ready to soar, he will be soon.

I’m sure of it.

Moving him into the dorm room was easier than I thought it would be, mainly because Ward (my husband) and I are Type AAA when it comes to planning. I ordered linens and bathroom items in advance and had them shipped to the dorm. We made lists of everything else we’d need, and more. Of course we had to add more to the list once we had a chance to look around, but the good thing is the local Target had everything – and I mean everything– we needed to set things up. No fuss, no muss, one-stop shopping.

A friend told me I would cry buckets of tears when I finally left my son in his dorm. It didn’t happen.

I think it’s because I haven’t gotten on the plane to come home. I don’t feel that sense of finality – yet.

We made the decision to stay for an additional week after settling him in the dorm for a couple of reasons: First, my husband could take the opportunity to visit family who live nearby; and second, I was nervous. West Virginia is awfully far away from Honolulu.

We made it clear to our son he could call, text or email if he needed anything while we’re here. So far – crickets.

So, of course, I reached out to him. The first day I texted him about five times until he ordered me to stop. His cease-and-desist text sounded grumpy, so I did.

But it was hard.

The next day was better. I waited until afternoon to call. He’d had a stressful and confusing day trying to figure things out, so he sounded glad to hear from me. But after a few minutes he announced he had to go to dinner.

I took the hint.

The third day we swung by to drop off a couple of items I was sure he’d need. He was happy to get the stuff, but after just a few minutes of chatting (while I scoped out the messiness of his dorm room) he looked squarely at us and said cheerfully (and rather forcefully), “Bye.”

Well, OK.

I am not sad about this. Really, I’m not.

It makes me happy to know he wants to be independent. I’m relieved.

I really don’t want to be a helicopter parent – hovering over my poor, harassed child and getting in everyone’s way.

But – darn – couldn’t he miss me just a tiny bit?