Friday, August 12, 2011

Definitely time to go back to school

Youngest Son will move into his college dorm a week from Monday.

It won't be a minute too soon.

He's basically a good kid -- but he's getting on my nerves big time these days. He's been "grounded" since an incident a couple of weeks ago wherein we thought he'd taken the family van to a graduation party in a nearby suburb but -- it turned out -- he'd actually taken the van to a neighboring state. Complications ensued. (I wrote about it here.) We've begun letting him out of the house again -- and he's coming home earlier, at our insistence, and with less complaint -- but he's not driving. He's forfeited that privilege.

Youngest Son has been more hindrance than help to my wife's house-painting project. I think that's why Long Suffering Spouse started letting him out of the house at night; it got him out of her way. He's still sleeping every day until early afternoon -- waking only because my wife, having done a good morning's work, can no longer stand the thought of him still abed. He'll grudgingly arise, shlump down to the den, turn on ESPN, and watch SportsCenter. Sometimes, just to change things up, he'll put on the MLB network. Occasionally my wife has been able to persuade him to interrupt his viewing long enough to move a box here or carry a bag there. (The other day, after being asked to undertake one of these 12 Labors of Hercules, he ranted to his sister, "I'm sick and tired of having to do everything around here!")

Youngest Son really got on my nerves when I stayed home Friday, Monday and Tuesday and helped Long Suffering Spouse finish the painting. After four days of trying to keep up with my bride -- who, remember, has been doing this for a month -- I was ready to die. I had come to resent the lumpen mass watching sports on the couch. (My wife says it was envy, not resentment; she may have a point.)

The strange thing is that Youngest Son is, believe it or not, an athlete. He voluntarily suspends his television viewing nearly every afternoon to run a few miles or lift weights or long toss. At this point, he's strong as an ox, only less cooperative.

I was discoursing along these lines to Long Suffering Spouse this morning -- not to so great an extent of course; my wife knows all these things that I've just told you. Besides, she cut me off quickly. "You act like this is the first time this has happened," she scolded.

"Um," I said.

"Oh, come off it. Every one of the kids has done this before going off to college. Not the same way, of course, but they've all been perfect beasts just before they leave for school."

"Um," I said, now feeling chastened.

Long Suffering Spouse put on a falsetto voice: "I need to be with my friends. We'll never be all together again!"

Yes, I admitted, every one of them has had a phase like this. "But they're more connected now than ever," I protested. When I went to college we could only write letters to our high school friends. (I have a bundle of papyrus scrolls up in the attic somewhere.) And when Older Daughter went off to school (nine years ago!) a lot of kids had actual limits on their cell phone minutes (we got Older Daughter an unlimited plan -- which she exceeded in the first month). There was no texting. No Facebook. They could chat on AIM, but they had to be logged onto their computer. "They're really not going to be apart at all," I concluded.

Long Suffering Spouse began tapping her foot at me. She tolerates a lot of my foolishness, but I could see I was approaching her limit. "That's not the way they feel," she said slowly and evenly, the way one instructs a slightly dense child.

They won't be able to hang out at together at someone's house every night, I silently conceded.

"Well, there's one good thing that comes of this behavior," I said, reversing course quickly. "You were worried that you'd be a little sentimental as the little guy" -- he's 6'3" -- "heads out of the house. Now, you'll just be relieved. Maybe this is just nature's way of making it easier to let the fledglings leave the nest."

Long Suffering Spouse stopped tapping her foot. "You might be on to something," she said.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

yes but watch, things change when the least'en (youngest "least one") leaves the nest. you'll see. now don't start feeling all old and krap curmie. take the bride out dancing or a picnic in the park or something completely out of character. it'll be good, you'll see.

smiles, bee

Ragnarok Private Server said...

Well I noticed too when my son left for college at first it was a relief no more loud music or him ignoring me when I was talking to him. But it was lonely my husband's working all the time still and I know it sounds crazy but I really miss him.