Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Parental Abandonment

Larry drove David to college today.  I know, I should be used to this by now, but truly it isn't the grown teen I am missing.  You see, the problem is that, when a grown teen walks out that door for college, the cute toddler he used to be goes with him.  Oh, I miss that little guy! So my couch is currently strewn with photo albums full of pictures of David, at age 2 and 3 and 4, looking exactly the same as he does now, only trapped in a body that is much shorter and rounder.

It's sort of like Muppet Babies, you know?

Anyway, I felt like grabbing him as he headed to the car and saying, "You do know how much you've meant to me, don't you?" But I didn't, because he doesn't.  He never will.  Parenting, although it has its rewards, is still somewhat of a one-way relationship.  And that's okay.  Most days, anyway.

There was MORE than this.
The past week David spent packing and attempting to clean out his room.  Remember, David is the family packrat.  The engineer/artist in him sees a potential use in everything, which prevents him from consigning anything to the trash can.  Somehow, despite all this, he managed to cull out and pack the essentials, box up for the attic other items he wasn't ready to part with, and generally clean out his desk, dresser, and closet.  It helped that he and Larry had spent an entire day a few weekends ago going through David's collection of defunct computer parts and disposing of them.  (Believe me, when you have a techie kid, EVERYONE gives him their leftover electronics.) 

The resemblance was remarkable

But last night, late, he turned to me and said, "My room isn't quite cleaned out." Now David, if I haven't mentioned it before, is a master of understatement, so I knew I was in trouble.  And it's true - a cursory inspection this morning told me that I have some work to do in there.  But not today. Today is for looking at old photos and wondering where the heck all that time went. Today is for remembering how, at age 3, that kid looked and sounded EXACTLY like Tweety Bird - big head, tiny body, and a speech impediment that had him saying "tat" for "cat."  Today is for reminiscing about all the times David, aeronautics aficionado that he was/is, patiently explained to me the principles of flight (apparently, it isn't magic, as I had supposed).

Today, above all, is for wondering how we will make it to December without David around to fix all our stuff.  I picture him coming home for Christmas and finding us regressed to living like cavemen, reading by candle light and cooking over open fires, as our computers and tablets sit silently with darkened screens, passwords irretrievable, software out-of-date.  The floor under the Christmas tree will be bare, devoid of gifts, due to my inability to log onto Amazon. His younger siblings will run to him and cling to his legs, pleading desperately with him not to leave them again with their technology-impaired parents.

Yeah, we're scared we can't handle life without him. What of it?


  1. Bless you...this made me cry. Fly, David. Your parents will proudly watch you soar (through their tears).

  2. It's hard with the techie kid goes off to college and doesn't return until Christmas. May the not-quite-clean room be manageable, along with the computer problems you face between now and December 24th!

  3. This is a great post! Congrats to "David" though - I remember looking at him when he was little and thinking "that kid is going somewhere!" Have fun with the baby pictures. You might have to take them out again when you are halfway through cleaning the rest of the room out - it'll help soothe the resentment. Lol.

  4. Congrats to David.
    I was thankful for texting. My poor computer literate son received many from me over his college years. Texts such as "control alt delete doesn't work! help!" and "why is my screen black?" etc. If my phone had died, well then, we would have been useless.

  5. Well, today was not a good day for me to read this. I'm already on the verge of tears, home alone every day since the baby went to kindergarten this week. With the oldest being a junior in high school, your college scenario isn't far off for me.
    Good luck getting that room in order, but more importantly, good luck to the children left behind in keeping the electronics in order.

  6. I can completely relate to all of this. Although my son did not accumulate huge amounts of computer technology, he did "win" a 90s era computer which he left in his room, plus all of his origami creations. And then he went to college and I had no one tall enough to change light bulbs for me, to fix the clogged sink (hooray for the Boy Scout Plumbing badge), or explain to me (for the 100th time) how to turn on Netflix.

  7. Oh, you made my heart ache even though this was a little funny at the same time.

  8. I think David does know just how much he means to you...but he won't really know just how much you mean to him until he's been away for a bit; then THAT piece of the puzzle will slide into place. Yes, sending them off to college is hard. I think I need to go look at my son's baby pictures - that little guy is missed on a daily basis.

  9. Your son sounds like our son ... and it must be an engineer thing because our son, too, has cables, cords, computer parts, scribbled notes EVERYWHERE. I tell him to empty his dresser drawer (translation: go through it and pack what you need) and he does it in two seconds (translation: he takes out the drawer and dumbs the entire contents in a crate) ... and he's done. His apartment is neat NOW only because I only left an hour ago. I give it one day ...

  10. Maria, this sounds like our son and he is also an engineer. I will say, he has gone from crates to the more fashionable containers you can have on open bookshelves.

    Our son is administrator on our computer. This means when we have a major problem, that's code for, problems we created, he can log in a try to repair the damage. :-)