Last night, my son and I (my husband was out of town for work) were sitting at our kitchen counter eating dinner. We were talking about his upcoming final exams and booking our travel for Phoenix. The conversation then turned to my son’s college application for Santa Clara University and his NCAA eligibility status.
Me: How’s your application coming?
Him: Fine. I’ve just got a couple more things to write, and then it’ll be ready to submit.
Me: Great! And, what about the stuff for the NCAA Eligibility Center?
Him: I’m good there, too, Mom.
Me: Okay, well, good. Is there anything you need me to help you with?
Him: Mmmmm . . . no, I don’t think so. I’ve got everything under control. [30 seconds later . . .] I’m sorry.
Me: Why? What do you mean?
Him: Well, I know how much you like doing this stuff. I’m sorry I don’t have anything I need your help with right now. [Big smile on his face]
He had me there! I DO like being involved in the process. I’ve been involved for a lot of years now.
The process is working. My son has progressed from being totally helpless and dependent on me and my husband to now being self-sufficient and proficient at taking care of the little things and the big things by himself. He has learned so much about himself. His confidence has grown right alongside his independence and his competency. I guess the experts know what they’re talking about.
He has also learned so much about me. Maybe because we’ve spent countless hours together as part of this Tennis Journey? Or maybe because learning about himself has led him to be more curious about learning about others? Sometimes, I think my son may have a better read on me than I do on myself. Sometimes, he recognizes my underlying emotions before I’m aware of them. That’s a little scary but also pretty cool.
After dinner, and after cleaning up the kitchen, I went upstairs and started watching a movie on tv while my son showered. He came in my room a little while later and started watching with me. Out of nowhere, he snuggled up and gave me a big hug. We hung onto each other for several minutes. I think it’s starting to hit us both that things are about to be very different and that we better savor these moments as much as we can.
This whole “empty nest” thing is feeling a little too close for comfort . . .