Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Kid Returns

If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I've been breaking my heart over my son, Balthazar, going away to college in August. The first two weeks were the hardest. Then I experienced a Cesar Millan "TSHHHT!" moment when The Kid Returned.

About a week after my Dad, Sis, and I took Balthy upstate to his new school, he e-mailed me that there was a concert in Manhattan the following Friday and asked if I would buy the ticket for him. He said he'd take one of the college's shuttle buses to the nearest Metro-North Railroad station (about 40 minutes away from campus), train it down to Grand Central Terminal, rock out at the show, then return to our little village and chill with me for the weekend.

What joy knew my heart! With what pleasure did I anticipate my baby's return! What a kick in the ass that following week (and his visit) proved to be!!!

I bought/e-mailed him the concert ticket. I bought him a ten-trip train ticket, so he wouldn't have to spend any of his own cash, figuring he'd be able to use it on subsequent visits home. I sent it to him via Priority Mail. I checked in with him that Wednesday, to see if he'd received the ticket and which shuttle/train combo he'd be taking on Friday. Wouldn't you know it; the shuttle buses weren't yet running, and wouldn't be till the returning students arrived (he was up there for a three-week workshop required of all freshman, so school was not officially in session, and the kids were discouraged from leaving campus during those three weeks, hence, no shuttle buses). He figured he'd take a cab. A 40-minute cab ride which'd cost at least $40, if not more. (He, of course, didn't realize this.)

I advised him that this was a heinously stupid expenditure and told him to research public transport options. This he did, and presented me with findings of this bus, to that bus, to the train, and he'd have to miss the afternoon session of the workshop. Well, to summarize from here, I lost my cool, told him I thought better of him bussing around a NY countryside with which he was wholly unfamiliar, and that if he felt comfortable blowing his own money on the cab, he'd be better off doing so. But I was SO ANNOYED with his lack of foresight and completely stressed about him possibly getting stuck somewhere. (You know, if you get stuck in Manhattan, it's a sure bet you can find someone to point you in the right direction, and if not, cabs can be easily found just about anywhere. You get stuck in the country and what's around to help you? Fuck-all but cows. Maybe the Children of the Corn, too. But mostly cows.) GAH!

The whole time he communicated his movements to me that Friday, he snarked at me, and was just generally being such a tool that by the time he made his way home from Manhattan I very nearly told him to see if one of his friends in town could put him up for the night. But I didn't. I just expressed my maternal displeasure and with relief saw him spend most of that Saturday out with his friends. I'd cooled off by the time he got back, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, and we finally exchanged some pleasant words. Then he said to me, "Mommy, I miss my college..."

Internally, I died. Externally, I said, "Tell me about that."

And he was all, "Well, I know I've only been away for two weeks, but coming back from Manhattan tonight, walking to our building, everything was familiar but already feels...alien to me. School just feels like home, now."

That little rat bastard.

Without conscious thought, and completely surprising myself, I answered, "Good. That means you've settled in and are happy there. I'd worry if you told me you hated it and wanted to come home. I'm really glad you feel that way."

And he nodded and went to bed. And I cried a little and then got over it.

Balthy makes his girlie sniff some God-awful cologne.
He returned again just this past weekend (so, two weeks after this first return), AND HE BROUGHT HIS NEW GIRLFRIEND WITH HIM!!!!!

She's adorable; a sweet blonde gal who laughed at all my lame jokes and with whom I enjoyed a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon on Chiller (as well as swooning over Spikewoof!) while Balthazar packed up the remaining contents of his room. Yesterday, while she showered before they took their leave, I said to him, "I notice you put a pic of the two of you as your Facebook profile page. You've never put pics of your girlfriends up before, she must be extra special to you, huh?"

He nodded, then jerked his head toward the bathroom. "So, what do you think?"

"I like her," I offered, then nibbled on my breakfast a bit before asking, "does it matter what I think?"

"Yeah," he said. He folded a towel, then nodded again. "Yeah."

"Well, in that case," I said, "I like her a lot."

32 comments:

  1. Awwwww. :) He asked you about his girlfriend. :)

    The whole "college feels like home now" is -- sorry -- pretty true, especially sometimes for freshmen more than for upperclassmen. When you're missing home in freshman year, you reach out to the space you're in and make emotional bonds there like those you used to have at home. Going home and getting all weepy over what used to be familiar just causes more heartache when you inevitably have to go back to college.

    By junior year, though (which I'm in, haha), it's like, whatever, can I just finish and graduate already? :P

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    1. Yeah, that all makes sense to me, intellectually. And yeah, I dig how you can get to a point of just wanting to be done with things, too. :-)

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  2. It's good to know that your opinion is still important to him.

    And I live in the middle of nowhere, and it does suck when you get stuck with only cows to help you. You can usually find a farmer to assist you, but I've had bad experiences with that too. One time I was on a dirt road with my hubby (who was only brand new boyfriend at the time), and we were . . . getting acquainted. Anyway, we neglected to notice that it had rained, and dirt had transformed into mud. The car was majorly stuck, and we had to have a farmer pull it out with his tractor. Of course, it was a sexist farmer who insisted my man steer while he pulled it, even though it was MY car. That detail didn't seem to matter. At least a cow would've been indifferent to my womanhood.

    The Children of the Corn would have definitely been worse though, so I'll count my blessings on that one.



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    1. Oh, dear, how unfortunate. (Not the "getting acquainted" bit, I'm *always* in favor of that.) ;-)

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  3. My daughter started college this fall as well. She takes the bus home almost every week-end with her laundry, and spends most of her time with her new boyfriend who lives down the street from us. One night she didn't come home (this was before I found out he had a new boyfriend) and I told her I couldn't sleep because I was worried about her. "Why?" She asked as if I was crazy."That's what mothers do." I answered, and she just sighed and shoock her head.

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    1. I know...they don't get it. Maybe someday they will. And how we'll laugh! ;-)

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  4. Brought a little tear to my eye for you. You already know my story. Jane left home and never looked back. She hasn't been home for more than about five days in so long, I can't remember. She may have come home for their extra-long winter break once or twice, but she was happy to bid the area good-bye. I don't think it was me or her dad, but an unpleasant senior year in high school. Once she graduated, I figured that she wasn't coming back. Now I know. She'll work as many part-time jobs as she has to to avoid moving back home with Mommy. A resourceful young woman she is. (Makes me proud.)

    I can't believe Elvis has a girlfriend already! Yikes! Good to know that he cares whether you like her or not. :)

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    1. LOL...Elvis. And yes, Balthy's still got that sneer! :-D

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  5. Wow -- a "come-home-with-me-and-meet-my-mom" level girlfriend. That's pretty serious! Glad you like her and -- more importantly -- glad it mattered to him. ;^)

    With a son, there's always that element of "leave and cleave" when a serious girlfriend enters his life, but I think you've got a strong and mutually loving relationship with him, so you're ALWAYS going to be "home" to him, no matter how much college 'feels like home' to him for this short season of his life.

    You done good, Mom!

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    1. Thanks, Chris. As it happens, after they crashed at chez moi, Balthy went with her to meet her stepdad...le wow wow!

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  6. You're killing me, woman! I'm reading this getting all sorts of choked up, then bam! You hit me with your amazing humor. So, I'm laughing away, then bam! I'm all weepy again!
    I LOVE how your words flow and how you take something so meaningful and pen it (er, type it) into something even more incredible. You, my dear, are a true writer!
    And I'm a fan. :D

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    1. Aw! Thank you so much, Jackie; your words mean a lot to me. <3

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  7. so funny - you did sound a bit like my mother in places - I guess if he manages to piss you off you won't miss him so much; bonus re the girlfriend, tho.

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    1. Yep, I reckon the "piss her off so she won't miss me" is a bit of altruism on his part. I should be grateful, really. ;-) LOL

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  8. Congratulations on bringing a great young man into this world, Mina. You are an absolutely wonderful mother and parent. We need more people in this world like you. Octomom should read your post.

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    1. LOL - thanks! I can't say I've always got things right, but I try, in my own way...

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  9. I think it's really sweet that he's settling in so much and likes to share his feelings with you. But yes, your baby is leaving the nest for sure....which I'm sure is hard. As for the 'planning ahead' thing...guys, esp. teenage guys, aren't so good at that. lol You're a great mom. <3

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    1. Thanks, JoJo. I have to admit, he stopped sharing a lot with me when he hit middle school and is now sort of letting bits through. I gobble up the crumbs like a hungry crow! :-)

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  10. ...This kinda makes me feel bad because my boyfriend doesn't post anything of me on his facebook...but then again he hates FB.

    But, college sort of felt like home to me my first year, but I'd much rather be HOME. I started feeling that way my second year of college My high school has always felt more like a home to me than my college, but I guess I'm a weird case.

    XD I actually wanna go home so bad I always tell my mom that in our phone conversations, but I have too much work to go home. T_T He's lucky he can take public transportation. That doesn't exist where I'm at.

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    1. Aw, I'm sorry, Dude. That sucks, that you can't easily get home when you miss it. :-(

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  11. Lovely post. I'm going around with my son and his new girl. Well, she's an old girl friend, who's come back into his life. I think it will end in disaster and I've told him so, with care but honesty. Deep down I think he knows it too. I hate seeing him hurt, but what choice do I have. He must live his own heartaches.
    I'm glad you like his girl friend, that's a comfort. Watching them gain independence a sweet sad wonderful, and yet sometimes heartbreaking experience.
    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're so right - we can guide but we can't fix things for them. Such a challenge...this parenting business ain't for the faint of heart!!! But you're also right about the wonder of the experience. This jazz is hard, and heart-wrenching, but I wouldn't give him up for anything. Not even Häagen-Dazs, and that's saying something. ;-) I will cross my maternal fingers for your son, his girlie, and you - may all turn out well for everyone. <3

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  12. So many emotions in one post. You're making me hold onto these last years with my son before he goes away. But I'm glad to know you're developing a solid new relationship.

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    1. Every stage has its beauty and its torments, though I do have to admit I've really enjoyed seeing him grow into a young man the most. When he's in the right mood, we have the best talks. :-)

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  13. Ah, it's admirable of you to support him on the outside even when you are hurting. He obviously feels the love or he wouldn't come home, bring her home or care what you thought. You should be proud. You've done well :)

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    1. Thanks, Heather. As a parent, I'm still a work-in-progress, but I'm happy I've managed to get some things right. ;-)

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  14. I feel for you, but it's good he's being independent. And cool that he cares about your opinion. And he came home twice. He'll keep coming home.

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  15. Awwww! It sounds like you have one good son. It's nice reading about parents with older kids since I have THAT in my future! Mine's only 14 months old and the next one is about 9 weeks in utero, so let's hope time is kind and their little years won't fly by too quickly. It's great to know that he still cares about your opinion! My heart just ached for you, though, when I read about him missing his college! I'll probably be a big ol' mess someday when my kids leave. I can't even imagine the New York area. I've lived in Iowa my whole life so I definitely hear you with the cows being the only "help" you can get! ;)

    You're a great mama!

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    1. Thanks, Chelsea - and congrats on your little one and the one on the way! I hope everything goes super smoothly for you. I understand 2nd pregnancies tend to do so, especially as regards labor...not that I've any desire to put that to the test, mind you. ;-)

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  16. Ha! I loved your internal-external dia-monologue on his first visit. Way to go Goth Mom!

    And the nod to Children of the Corn gave me a little skerry/excited shiver from my first childhood horror experience. Which led me to remember my second~Dark Night of the Scarecrow! Going to go sleep with the lights on now.

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C'mon, post a comment. All the cool kids do.

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