Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Relearning Independence

The day is nearing. My Second Son, His Girlfriend and their Two Dogs will soon be moving out of my home and into their own. They are weaning themselves into their new life on their farm. And in the process, I am being weaned back into independence.

I am grateful that I am learning that full independence isn't all it is cracked up to be. My Son has stepped in and relieved the pressure of Living Independently for (almost) five years.

It has been a little bit wonderful as he gradually took over almost all of the outside maintenance over the course of most of those years. As life-on-their-farm became to take on more of his time last year, I was gently weaned back into lawn care. Winter was another story because he was 'here' more than he was 'there' (on the farm), so he still took over the lion's share of snow removal last winter.

Little odds and ends around the house seem to get taken care of, in a timely matter. We had a few plumbing issues and a mysterious little 'flood' in the basement that My Son simply took care of for me (almost) before I even knew there was a problem.

Caulking, little fix-it jobs here, there and everywhere were completed while I carried on my merry little way and lived my life.

Car troubles? I would ask my son. If I wanted to go on a little getaway, my Middle Son was here for my Youngest Son.

My Second Son's positive, adult presence in our home these past years have set the bar for My Youngest. There has been a Mutual Adoration Society that has evolved over the course of time since my Second Son moved home. My Youngest Son has been witness to it all.

Add two adults and two dogs into a household and it is bound to be a little bit less than an ideal situation for all. But all things considered, I would say that we did a mighty fine job of things overall.

I think that we all knew that the Time of Independence for All was beckoning. It has been for a while. When little things become bigger than they really are, you know you are living the 'real life' - the life between the lines that they do not show on The Waltons or Leave it to Beaver or even The Simpsons.

There has been a mutual dependence that has helped all parties out during my Second Son's Time of Construction. Perhaps not equal in all ways, but I think that we both could honestly say that we each reaped a few benefits along the way.

Will I miss having a handyman living under the same roof? You bet I will! Will I miss the impromptu chats over coffee? Yes! Will I miss simply knowing that I have someone to lean on, if leaning is necessary? More than I ever thought that I would ...

My Second Son and his family are spending more and more (and more) time living on their farm as progress has allowed. They went 'out for the weekend' on Friday night and still have not come home. I was bemoaning the fact that I hate refilling the propane tank and I hate filling the gas tank and I hate buying milk (etc, etc, etc) last night. A lot of the things on my 'hate' list were things that my Second Son has taken over. My Youngest gingerly asked, "Do you suppose that they are spending more and more time away from home, to help you get used to being on your own again?" I would imagine that there are more reasons than just that particular one, but yes ... this time of adjustment is just a small bit easier knowing that it isn't quite our reality. Yet.

But it is coming. It is truly and honestly coming! I am so very, very pleased for all of us. The time has come. It may have actually arrived a year ago ... but now that it is 'this' close, I am grateful for the extra year. That bonus year has given all of us the gift of leaving on good terms. After all that we have been through together, I think the worst time for our separation would have been when things were at their worst.

We have lived through many changes these past (almost) five years. What started out as a temporary, mutually favorable living arrangement became one of necessity for a while. We went through the good, the bad and the ugly and back again. I am simply grateful that it has cycled back to the good stuff, now that our time of separation is nearing.

I must stretch my independent wings again. I've done it before and I will do it again. In all of my adult years, I have never relied on anyone besides myself to take care of life-at-home. It all fell on my shoulders and I carried whatever load I had to carry to raise my young family.

It has been a gift of epic proportions to learn to trust someone enough to lean on. I knew it was temporary. Perhaps I leaned a little too hard at times. Maybe I was weak? Maybe I was testing My Son's threshold? Maybe it was just a passing phase?

Perhaps I am a little bit like someone who has been on bed rest just a little bit longer than was absolutely necessary. I may need to rebuild my strength a little bit as I work my way to full independence once again. But I have a 16-year-old in the wings. A young lad who has watched his older brother step up to the plate and lend a helping hand. I am not counting on him to take over where his older brother left off. But I do believe that he will follow in his footsteps one day. In many ways ... he has already started.

Relearning independence is something that cycles in and out and back into our life again. It is very life affirming to know that you can do hard things.

Here I go. Again...

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