Saturday, August 2, 2008


Cara leaves for college in 20 days. If it sounds like I'm counting, you're probably right. She is too. This has been a horrible summer. She's an adult, she keeps telling us. Her life consists of work, running with her friends, and sleeping. She does not help willingly, but grudgingly does what is asked of her. If we get frustrated with her, it is our fault. We've asked repeatedly that she leave a work schedule on the refrigerator, so we can keep track of where she is, and whether she's eating supper with us. Last night, after two days of being unable to reach her by cell phone (she had my debit card), she came home at 11:00. There were words about her inconsiderate behavior, a reiteration of what was expected of her. She was rude. In a rush of bitterness, she told me that I was selfish and only thought of myself. I told her that was not the truth. She told me it was. And then she left the house 'because she was very pissed at me right now'. You know, it has happened with every single kid. Right before they bust out of the house, they become unbearable. Recognizing the pattern does not make it easier to swallow.
Do you suppose this is how we all deal with the looming life change? Is it part of our own protective nature, when a separation looms, that we become critical of each other, as if to say, in effect, 'hey, I'm not sad I'm going because you suck!' ?
I don't know.
I just never expected it to happen with Cara.
She's at her friend's house, and she may be back. She may not. I don't know. She's 'very pissed at me right now'. Although I cried myself to sleep last night, I've got to be honest. In the middle of all that sadness, I'm very pissed at her right now, too.


Bush Babe (of Granite Glen) said...

Oh Deb... poor darlin'... I so know this is ahead of me, as kids untie those blessed apron strings and already I am tense about the idea. Hang loose, let yourself be cranky and sad. Be pissed. But be there. It's a big deal (and probably scary) for her too...

PS If you think Jeanie and I haven't noticed that you haven;t posted our comments on your photo... we are onto you sister!!

Hal Johnson said...

Ouch. Most of my friends and coworkers are either older or had kids at an earlier age, so I've heard many heart-wrenching stories about a kid's last year at home. Sheesh. I hope, if it happens to us, that I can be ready. I should probably start praying now.

Pencil Writer said...

It seems to counter-productive, doesn't it? And yet, I think that weird mechanism--the getting angry at each other--is SO VERY COMMON when a child is getting ready to LEAVE HOME! I know EXACTLY what you're talking about.

Our son, got really rude, caustic and unrelenting the last day I saw him before he moved out. It was uncalled for, hurt my feelings and made me mad.

Youngest daughter couldn't wait to leave home after high school. Was also really rough on us--me, I think, esp. Enrolled in college 1400 miles away for the summer semester, just so she could get away from us as soon as possible. (Well, she's been back between college stints and is back now after graduation. Completely different mindset. Most helpful and considerate.

My theory . . . It's easier to leave when you create a rift--helps to justify your feelings of breaking out of the cacoon. Makes parents ALMOST glad they're going/gone--at least for a moment or two.

But, I cried the other night and felt very "blue" too. What worries me about my son is: I can't tell that he took any clothes with him. His toothpaste and toothbrush and other toiletries are still in his bathroom, a load or two of dirty laundry are sitting in his room--the ones he said a few days ago he was going to wash/dry before leaving. Hasn't called to let us know he made his destination safely.

I'm trying not to worry. Praying he's okay and that he'll let us know how he's doing soon.

And I think having the younges leave the nest is sometimes every bit as hard (or harder) than when the first one leaves.

Don't get me wrong. It was SOOOOOO necessary for us to facilitate his going. I just hate the ugliness that comes with those departures.

In fact, my husband and I left the house the night out son (moved out) left--before he came home to catch a ride with the guy driving him to his new "digs". We spoke on the cell phone. He said he'd call when he got there. He hasn't yet. That was Thursday.

Hugs, Debby. I can empathize with you for sure on this one. It will get better. They will appreciate us and I firmly believe they even love us. Tearing away from parents, home and the "comfort zone" is difficult, painful and necessary--just like it must be for butterflies breaking out of their cacoons.

More hugs. Besides, God loves our kids more than we do! They more His children than ours, anyway!

jeanie said...

When I was at boarding school, holidays and weekends were spent in anticipation that 1 hour before takeoff back to school, Dad would pick an argument with us.

I now wonder if he was in anticipation of us picking an argument with us.

And I wonder who was making the pre-emptive strikes?

Alison said...

I had to think about this one for a while, because I wasn't quite sure what I could offer that would be of any help (and because I am in denial about my children ever growing up. Ever.)

I have thought about the whole anger vs sadness thing before, and as much as I am sure this is difficult for both of you, maybe your anger is a good thing?

Anger is motivating, it gets things done and it inspires action. I imagine even someone as fabulous as your daughter would need a fair bit of motivation and inspiration to see her through such a big transition.

If she needs to be pissed at you, maybe you are doing her a favour by giving her something to be pissed about. I mean sheesh! How dare you expect consideration from an all knowing, central to the universe, will never be wrong in their life, young adult! (Joke.)

And I noticed you didn't post my comment about your fabulous photo, ether. So did the girls.

Hal Johnson said...

"And I noticed you didn't post my comment about your fabulous photo, ether. So did the girls. Busted."

Hey, she didn't post mine either! Double busted! At least now I know she wasn't discriminating by gender.

But seriously though, Debby, thanks for posting the photo. I don't mean to make light of how hard it was for you, and I'd still like you even if you hadn't posted it.

And oh yeah, on the driver's license thing: every one of mine has reminded me of a guy just released on parole.

LL said...

Classic mother daughter stuff. I've heard it from many in the same shoes. One day they will come back with love, they will realize how much you love them....this is what I am told, anyway!

You have been a great mom and I think what is happening is just the protective armour that children must don when they leave the can be prickly, thorny.....deep down, she knows you love her.

I hope you can get through this phase without too many tears, but as a mom, I can relate, nothing wounds so deep as your child's behaviour toward you...

Take heart...things will get better...this is temporary, I promise you!

PaintedPromise said...

wow Debby, you have been living in my house again!!!!! i so hear you... people say i will be sad when my "nest" is "empty" but i don't think so. with my oldest who has been gone for years, i cannow h ave a great relationship - it is no longer my "job" to nag... i am so looking forward to that with the other two :)

and besides my "nest" will NEVER be "empty", not with all the horses, donkeys, mules, dogs, cats, fish... well, you see what i mean. besides, Randy is quite often just another kid for me to take care of and HE AIN'T LEAVING