When I tell people that my firstborn turned 23 this past week, they tell me that kids often come home after leaving the nest. I always listen and smile politely, but they obviously don’t know my Randall. He was my child that gave us the “who are you look” when we would come to pick him after staying with his favorite caregiver as a baby. And he was the same child that never looked back when I dropped him off on the first day of school. Most children are intimidated by being sent to the principal’s office. But when Randall threw a rock at a fellow Kindergarten pupil he informed me he was only protecting himself just a like a police officer does when discharges his weapon on duty. I knew then I was in trouble. Some children express their heartfelt homesickness on the day you pick them up from camp. Nine year Randall just bragged to us that he had gone an entire week without a shower. He has always been pretty independent to say the least.
As parents, we start preparing our children for independence at a very early age. We recognize the importance of equipping a child to function effectively in the world. We know they will one day have to cook their own meals, wash their own clothes, and even pay their own bills. As each year goes by, we take incremental steps to prepare them for the day that they will no longer live under our roof.
We sent Randall off to college almost 5 years ago. He finished his degree in a timely fashion. He even maintained a full ride academic scholarship that was awarded to him by the university that he chose to attend. (I can honestly say that no university was courting me for an academic scholarship when I finished high school.)
Now he is living in Los Angles of all places. He has a good job. And he is paying his own way. It has not been easy. Securing a decent job in this economy is no trouble free task. But in addition to being independent, Randall is tenacious. He has always been doggedly determined. He came from the hospital that way as an infant in my estimation!
Needless to say I am proud of him. How could I not be really proud of a young man that is making his way across the country from his home? He works hard and he has no shortage of goals and dreams.
But I must confess. When parents encourage their kids to be independent, they create actually create a mess. Those kids leave home and go away. They go far away. Opportunities to play golf together or eat at the local taco joint are out the window. I can’t even take his car in for repair anymore.
Independenceis way overrated. People will continue to tell me that they come home, but I know better…Happy birthday Randall! We know you are going somewhere in life.