Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I know you've probably been wondering...


...where I've been since last week. All I can say is I've been working at fast-forward speed this summer and last week cinched it. My attention was split in so many directions, the blog had to take a backseat. Blogging can't be allowed to get in the way of things that require your attention in real life.

So, I'll be telling you of many of the things that went on in the Nagle5 household last week, catching you up with our doings, but first things first.

Charming headed back to the dorms yesterday...we were eager to see him leave and sad to see him go, if that makes any sense. This part of the journey, the recognition that you've done what you set out to do and raised an independent, capable adult, is a difficult one for everyone. The temptation is always to keep the adorable boy in your mind when you're dealing with the young man. You think you know him and what he wants and what would be good for him and, in some cases, you do. It is not, however, my life. I've already been 18 and made the mistakes that come with that territory. Charming is chomping at the bit to live an adult life and sometimes found himself resentful when he found himself living the life as one of the kids. After a year of living the college life and then coming home for the summer, it is clear to all of us that he is done being one of the kids. He's ready to take his changes and make his own mistakes and he needs our support to do that.

So, we spent this past summer redefining our relationship. We consigned that baby boy to our memories and acquainted ourselves with the man he's becoming. We were teaching ourselves and him to manage expectations for his behavior, his contributions to the maintenance of the household as well as the maintenance of his own life, and his level of interaction with the family. Lessons were learned by us all: You can't tell everyone that certain things aren't up for discussion and then be frustrated when no one will jump in and fix those things when they go awry. It is unreasonable to want the family dinner if you won't be home at mealtimes. We couldn't tell him to handle a situation himself and then second guess how he handled it. All of it was hard...seriously hard. There were tears and recriminations, yelling and sulking, stewing and pouting. This was uncharted territory for all of us. We've never seen it done well in our own families and so we found ourselves reinventing the wheel. If you look back to my Friday Photo Flashbacks, you can see me working through the entire thing in the form of those photos.

In the end, Superman and I feel happy at the progress Charming has made, confident that he's truly on his way and confident in his abilities to manage his own life, without our interference. It is clear to all of us that he won't be calling our house "home" after college. It isn't right for him and we're okay with that. He knows we love him, he knows we support him, and he knows he doesn't have to live here to have that love and support. We're truly his biggest fans. Oh, he'll always have a place to sleep when he comes home to visit, but it won't be "his" room.

There you have it, the biggest thing I wrapped up at the "end of the year". Bittersweet, isn't it?

Oh, the picture? May 1991. Don't blink because time flies...and yes, Charming, you were naked!

3 comments:

DarcyLee said...

I know exactly what you're going through right now. There is that time in all of our kids' lives that they make that transition from being a child and adulthood. It is different for each child, too. I love the picture. It's beautiful.

loveaphid said...

I never thought I would be happy to see a Summer end, but truly this year I am. It was a tough one for everybody. Good thing we have each other. Charming is a smart kid, he'll be fine. He knows that he can always go to your home for love and support. We both know he's gonna need it. :-)

generationsgoneby said...

Erin,

I know this summer has been hard, but you are at the point where NO mommy blogger seems to be, the post teen years and I appreciate you sharing your struggles. I read so many blogs where the children are little and I no longer need the wisdom of those years. I am just a few steps behind you in your walk and I am learning so much from your tears and triumphs. I know it's been harder on you than you are even willing to share, but know that those of us following you do appreciate that you are sharing. This is a tough stage for all of us. We Mommies want to go behind them making everything perfect, and they want us to leave them alone. LOL The college called it a push and pull. They push us away and we pull them back in. They said we will learn to pull less and they will push less and we will learn a new normal that will be comfortable for our families with this new adult that is emerging in our families. He's got to test his wings. You've done a great job with him. I just know you have from reading your words here. He's going to fall on his face a few times too. We all do, but I think he's going to soar eventually. And if he doesn't, I know he'll have you and Superman to help he get back up and try those wings again and again.

#1 came home that first week from college, and my tendency would have been to follow him around, but God had different plans and gave me the flu. I couldn't get out of bed for 4 days. That allowed #1 to spend time with his friends, his father (they really had a good time without me) and his sisters. I got the second weekend home. He's starting to make a few friends on campus, so I am sure there won't be too many more before he starts staying up there full time. That's going to be hard and good at the same time. It's dang hard, but I know he's turning into that man I have prayed about and if I want the blessings of those prayers, I have to go through this transition stage.