Leaving the Nest

My son gave his notice at work  yesterday. In two weeks he will be moving out of the house into an uncertain future. How do I feel about this? Mixed.

A little back story.

On the five-year plan, he graduated last May from the university with a BA degree in Geology. He’s a guy who loves science, nature, birds, rocks, and has always dreamed of being a paleontologist.

The economy being what it is and the shy guy that he is, job searching has been tough for him. He has sent out a lot of applications (not a deluge) but now a year later he has had no bites.

He has been living at home, working at a factory job (my nature boy is inside from 2 – 10pm making plastic furniture) and is unhappy.

He turned 24 in February.

About six weeks go I asked him if he had any plans. Very solemnly he took me aside and had me sit down. I wasn’t sure what to expect as he told me he had a chance to sublet an apartment with some friends in his college town. Well I couldn’t say much, he certainly is old enough to make his own decisions. Part of me thought, how can you leave a job with benefits and go to a two month sublet with no job? Another part of me said, yes! for good or ill you’ve made a decision. And when I looked at his face I knew he had to do this.

At my age, I can’t imagine quitting a job without having a guaranteed job, or in my case a pension, to move into. When I moved out of my parent’s home I had a teaching job but zero money in the bank. Nathan has been working a year and is moving out but has a fairly nice savings. There is no wife, kids, mortgage or car payments on his back right now. Yes, he has a school loan but he’s got a payment plan worked out on that.

Working 2nd shift and living at home hasn’t allowed for much of a social life. He has always gotten along with us and we will always be friends but his age group friends are the people he met in college and many of them are 3 or more hours away. He needs to talk and drink and eat and laugh and stay up late with people his own age.

His room

Me? Honestly I’m ready to be an empty nester. I don’t need to worry about where he is if he doesn’t get home exactly when I expect him. I’m tired of picking up his socks, potato chip bags and soda cans. We each have a different level of clutter tolerance and his level beats mine every time.

Curt and I have travel plans, remodeling plans…retirement plans. Sure, Nathan’s bed will be here if  things don’t work out but I think things will work out somehow. At least he has his priorities in line. After telling us about this next step in his life he asked his Dad to write down some of his favorite recipes and give him cooking tips and pointers.

Will I still worry. Damn right! I’m his mother and I love him. But for him it’s cutting the cord, sink or swim time, taking the leap!!! Good luck sweetie. We’ll be here if you need us.


8 thoughts on “Leaving the Nest

  1. I know in my heart that this is right for him. Every night when he drags in and tells me about his night in the factory I know he’s got to go. Thanks so much for the pep talk.

  2. You are a good mom! With those interests, there are all sorts of possibilities for Nathan that I bet he has not even thought of. Life with a different group may get him started on that path. I got a teaching job right out of college; a dream job and I hated it. Quit after three years and moved to Wisconsin. Knew I had to take a chance before I had a husband, family, mortgage etc. My dad could not understand how I could do that; he was a child of the Depression who grew up in time for WWII so no surprise there. But there comes a time when we have to give it a go on our own. Had a number of years with interesting but low-paying jobs but ended up with a great career that I could never have foreseen when I started out. Good luck and happy hunting to your son!

  3. Jean,
    Love your blog site. Nathan will find his way. The best thing parents can do is give their kids wings and let them fly.

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