Friday, February 22, 2008
Spreading His Wings
For about 3 or 4 weeks my 19 year old son Tyler has been talking about going to California. Well...not "going" really, more like "moving". Cuz, you know, he has a minimum wage paying job, the clothes on his back, and that's about it.
I thought it was all talk, except that while we were on the Make A Wish trip there were lots of phone conversations with his friends about buying bus tickets, who's paying for what, etc. I began to get a little worried, some of it for him, and some of it for Angela. She already has one brother who she sees only once every year or so, and she misses him terribly. She's very attached to all her brothers, and I worry how this will affect her that yet another one has moved away. But I digress.
Tyler and his friends really didn't have much of a plan aside from buying tickets. No jobs waiting for them when they get there, and no place to stay. You know, a well-thought out adventure that I had to sit back and watch unfold!
We arrived home on Sunday evening, and he left almost as soon as we got in the door to "get things done" before getting on a bus Monday night. Things like one of the boys didn't have an I.D., and driving around to say goodbye to everyone. And, since none of them have a car, they rented a U-haul to drive around in. Cuz...you know..they have all kinds of money to spare! LOL
Monday afternoon he came back, just for a few minutes, to say goodbye. He gave me a hug, and then hugged Angela. She asked him, "You're coming right back Ty? Tomorrow you come back?"
I answered, maybe incorrectly but I wanted her to understand, "No Angela. Tyler won't be back tomorrow. He's going to be gone for a long time, like Robbie."
She got big tears in her eyes and gave Tyler another hug, then watched at the kitchen window as he walked out the door. His friends were waiting in the cab of their rented truck, but when Tyler left he walked around the side of the garage, staying out of sight for several minutes. I know he went there to cry, that he realized just how big this really was, and that it wasn't just about him, it was about all of us.
The bus was supposed to arrive in the bus station around 9:30 pm that night, but he called me at 10:30 asking if I knew a way to check the bus schedule because it hadn't arrived yet. When the bus did finally show up there weren't enough seats on it (how does this happen when one buys a ticket? And, I didn't realize there were still that many people who traveled by bus.) After spending the night who knows where, they finally got a seat the following morning.
He called me several times throughout the ride, to tell me where they were and about the various people on the bus. They finally arrived in Poway, CA yesterday morning. A friend of a friend picked them up, and the first thing they did was visit a beach. (I think this is hilarious, considering while we were in Florida we couldn't get Tyler to go in the ocean past his ankles...because...you know...there's sharks and stuff.) They climbed some big hill, and swam in someone's pool. Today they plan to look for jobs and a place to live, because between the three of them they have about $800 left, and that ought to get them an apartment on the beach, huh? Never mind food!
So why am I telling you about this? I'm writing to tell you about some of the requirements of motherhood that nobody told me about. Like the part about letting go. Letting them fall on their own butt, but being ready to help them back up if need be. The part about sitting back and watching them, knowing exactly the mistakes they're making but really not being unable to say anything about it. Don't think I didn't try talking him out of this big adventure. Don't think I didn't try to help him come up with some plan of action, like saving money first! I did all those things, but in the end it comes down to one young man wanting to strike out on his own (and get out of the sub-zero temperatures of Minnesota) and find his own way.
I'm still going to put some money aside for an airline ticket for him...just in case.