Monday, August 28, 2017

Lights Out, Little Owl

Our son, my night owl, has flown the coop. As of Thursday, he's residing in college. 

We all were excited for our own reasons. My husband and I, because he's going to get a higher education, will be independent, and will learn to earn his daily bread for a lifetime. Our son, for getting out from the dubious parental thumbs of his parents and the tell-tale informative skills of his sister. His sister, because she will no longer have to put up with his teasing and his consumption of all her favorite snacks.
And for us three early birds, no more loud noises late at night, when our night owl leaves on every light- especially the one in the living room- and stomps about the house because he forgets everyone else is asleep.

We were all excited.

It wasn't easy getting him ready. The entire month was a tug-of-war on my nerves, because of shopping trips, packing (or so I thought was him packing) and other college roadblocks that are the very essence of joy for a first-time college parent. 

Once the road blocks were removed (or at least dealt with), all we had to do was take what he packed and put it in the van the night before, because, being the early birds most of us are, we have to leave at the crack of dark to do everything we'd planned. However, there was a problem.

Let's just say for the parent of an Aspie, his kind of packing wasn't our kind of packing.
His kind of packing was to put things in their own piles in his room and to go through every single thing, stacking it neatly in said pile. Then plan to throw everything in the van pell-mell at the last minute, sneaking in a few forbidden items while we were asleep.

We didn't find this out until the day before we were supposed to leave. 

He also has a gift to become scarce when chores are involved, so my husband, daughter and a family friend (who was helping because of my wonky knees) managed to get most of his important gear packed and into the van before bedtime. Whew! 
Of course my son helped some. And by some, I mean telling everyone what he wanted to take with him, which was almost everything. We parents knew better and managed to keep most of his valuables (and valued things like a plethora of desk toys) at home.

Oddly enough, our night owl was up with us at dawn, ready for the first leg of his lifes' journey.
This trip was an all day event because his college was a four hour drive one way, with side visits to make on the way there. And it was a perfect morning! All of the van windows opened as we all breathed in the fresh air of freedom.

College students greeted us with tubs to carry the new students' belongings to the dorms, and our son was stashed and settled in no time. Then it was off to our last dinner with him (at least for a while), and he was chomping at the bit for us to go. He didn't really want a huge farewell- there were too many things to see and people to meet. He is a very sociable Aspie. I taught him that. Maybe I taught him too well.

We got into the van soon after dinner and made our way home. I was excited for him, but a little sad as well. I expected him to be a bit more...loving. I expected more heartfelt hugs and instead received a brush-off. He was looking forward to flying out of the nest I had built.

No more yelling to get him to do chores.
No more trying to wake him up in the mornings and failing miserably.
No more calling for him, trying to find him while his earphones are on.
No more arguments over what he will and won't take.
No more stress, hoping he filled out the forms he needed.

I could breathe now. 

When we got home, we were all tired and ready for bed. Early birds don't fare well after a long day, and I was ready for a nice deep sleep. I wasn't worried about his safety or how he would do his first night- after all, he's a young man now. The first part of my job concerning him was done. Now I was entering a new phase of motherhood with my son.

We slogged up the steps with my husband turning off the lights as he went, including that light in the living room that never gets turned off- it's always on for my son, the night owl. It's left on all day as well, since the room is a bit dark. For years I had an issue with that light always being on, but now that wasn't going to be a problem anymore.

My husband turned out the light. 

That was when it hit me. My son wasn't home. He's trying out his wings in college.

And that was when the tears started.

Lights out, little owl. Your morning bird momma misses you. 


Unknown said...

Oh, you made me cry. My night owl is still home, waiting a bit for that first take-off. I get a whole year of anticipating the tears...

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