tl;dr They really do grow up and move out
I started writing here (or rather, on the original Never a Dull Moment) waaaaay back in early 2006. Yes, my first blog posts were hosted on Blogger and I submitted them on clay tablet via an unladen swallow (wait, that would definitely be a laden swallow and that’s a phrase that is juuuuust this side of obscene 😬). It was an eternity ago in internet years is what I’m saying. The boys were just shy of 5 and 2, and I referred to them by their initials. While I’d intended for my blogging to be my random brain barfs it quickly turned to a lot of writing about giftedness. We had Andy tested right about the time I started writing so that’s no big surprise I guess. There are still posts that are really hard for me to read because they throw me back into the anxiety and emotions of those days. Soft spots in my soul.
Several weeks ago Shutterfly sent me a hey remember these memories from 15 years ago? email. Inside were photos of Andy starting kindergarten.
Several quick thoughts on those photos. OMG he was so widdle and adorable! And holy crap I was so young and thin! And the MomVan finally gave up the ghost last year.
When that email landed in my inbox he and I were making up lists of things he needed to take to college.
This is where you probably expect me to spout off timeworn platitudes like time goes so fast and enjoy them while they’re young. Yes, time has no meaning but dudes? I’m not telling anyone to enjoy their kids while they’re young. That shit always angered me because I’d be in the throes of asynchronous hell and not interested in enjoying a damned thing other than the fantasy of running away somewhere where I couldn’t be found. “It goes fast? Awesome, that means this shit will be over soon!” I enjoyed the hell out of the good times and prayed to survive the hard times and we made it. Not to the finish line, because there is no such thing, but to a small oasis of respite.
He’s launched. Mostly. Because of a gap year and a year of covid college from his bedroom, launch was delayed a couple years, and by the time we said our final goodbyes and headed back home we were all ready for it. I’m sure he’ll be home for the summer at least this first year and then who knows? He’s 20 now and when I hit that age I was in my first apartment with friends, married a few years later. At 20 I was dating Tom and now good god I feel old.
Fifteen years ago I wrote “A is at the beginning of a wonderful adventure” and “A and I get along so much better when we’re not bouncing off each other all the time, so I hope he and I will fight less (please oh please). So it’s exciting for all of us.” I had no clue what was headed our way. The nightly homework battles, the sensory overwhelm in the classroom, eventually homeschooling through high school. Not a damned clue, and if I’d known I may have indulged that fantasy of running away.
I don’t know what to expect now. It’s not as though there’s a handbook to this young adult stage of life, and even if there were, our G2e kids are never in those books so it wouldn’t help anyway. I have learned that the unexpected is usually to be expected, that asynchrony is lifelong and never ever forget that, and that parenting a complex kid is a cha-cha of expectations and reality. Two steps forward, get pushed over, one step back, kick to the head, another two steps forward, slip on a banana peel, one stumble back, tumble ass over elbow, lather rinse repeat until the heat death of the universe. The music is that of John Cage, played on the theremin at a deafening volume and it just keeps speeding up. Costumes are just a single pair of tighty-whities wedgied up over your head. Charming mental image, no? That’s parenting a complex kid, even into young adulthood.
I am immensely proud of the young adult he’s become. I’m constantly amazed at what he knows, what he does, how he carries himself, how he treats others. It was a very, very long road to this point with a glitchy GPS, but we did get here.
Next year is Jack’s turn. We’re in the college search and application process, but he’s also considering a gap year. He works as a full-stack developer and graphic designer for a small startup and just might do that while figuring out his next steps. (As an aside, both boys took it as a personal affront when we told them to go find jobs flipping burgers like every other teen in the country, and both went and found part time jobs in the tech industry; for real we’ve earned the good nursing home raising these two).
So to the parents still in the thick of it, they do grow up. They just take their own sweet time and take a path only they could take. But boy, it’s been a helluva ride.