God. I’m Not Going to Be One of Those Mothers, Am I?


Kevin has been gone for three days now, and we haven’t heard a word from him.  Despite my telling him before he left that I would appreciate hearing from him at least every other day just to touch base.  Despite the fact that I watched him pack his cell phone.  And his cell phone charger.  Despite the fact that we made sure his account was loaded.  Despite the fact that I sent him a text message just saying “hey” a couple of days ago.  Not a word from the boy.

I know they are only allowed specific allotted times in the evenings to make phone calls.  I’m not expecting anything during the day; I know they are constantly on the go, cramming a million site-seeing events covering four states into one week.  Still, a phone call in the evening just to say, “I’m having a great time, this is so awesome!” would be nice.  Especially knowing Kevin, who, despite the persona he adopts in front of his peers, is at heart a mama’s boy, still insisting that I tuck him in every night, still coming to me with every minor injury, still calling to me to “Watch this, Mom!  Watch what I can do!”

Clearly this trip to the other side of the world (okay, that’s what it feels like, even if it is just the other side of the country) is a door opening for him – his very first opportunity to see and experience a world apart from his parents and family.  This experience is all his, and his alone.  I am incredibly grateful that we are in a position to give this to him; lord knows I didn’t get to experience anything like this growing up – no school trips, no sleep-away camp, nothing, because my parents just couldn’t afford it.  But I guess I imagined just a smidge of homesickness, an enthusiastic call home as soon as he was able, to tell us what an incredible time he’s having.  But nothing so far.

And really, it’s got me doing a little self-reflection.  What do I expect of him and why?  Do I feel like he owes us because we shelled out a shitload of money for this trip (although, yes, we conditioned it on his also earning some money to contribute to the cost, all in the name of instilling certain values like appreciation and a good work ethic)?  Yes, I guess I do.  More than that, though, I guess I feel like he has a responsibility to maintain some semblance of contact with us because he’s still a child.

I’m also having visions of him being all grown up, living on his own.  Will he move as far away from us as possible, indulging us in the obligatory once-a-month phone calls in which he really reveals nothing about his life?  I picture myself laying the guilt on him, “Yeh neveh cowall yeh mehtheh . . .”  (Because in my imagination, I will be an old Jewish woman from New York, even though I am neither Jewish nor from New York.)

So, I’m not sure what to make of this whole thing.  Is he just rightfully enjoying his freedom right now?  Am I wrong to be getting my knickers in somewhat of a twist?  Should I just go with it, allow him this opportunity to grow without guilt, and not take it personally?  Should I try hard not to see this as a preview of things to come?

I know he’s okay, because I sent an email to his teacher who is there on the trip, and she assured me that he’s fine, and that she will remind him to call home.

Sigh.

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3 Comments on “God. I’m Not Going to Be One of Those Mothers, Am I?”

  1. Jennifer Varanini Sanchez
    June 8, 2011 at 7:00 am #

    I know it hurts and you REALLY want to hear from him but from my standpoint I see it as a big positive. That you’ve raised a boy that can handle adventure and pseudo-independence and is confident in the big wide world knowing you and Michael are there for him. I really think it’s a good sign that you and Michael have done a great job in raising a well adjusted kiddo….does that help?!??! a little?!?!? He STILL should call you though :)…so I’m with you on the knickers in a twist!

  2. Addie
    June 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    I remember this time in my life… I know its hard, but the best thing you can do is let him be the one who calls you… if you give him the responsibility and freedom to do that, then he will know that he can trust you to start thinking of him as an adult and will, most likely, trust you with certain parts of his life… I had the opposite from my parents (who never really let me do anything as a teen) – my overprotective mother still wants an explanation and call for everything, and it makes me realize that she will never think of me as an adult (yes, I know Kevin isnt an adult now), and I cannot ever trust her b/c she cannot trust me to do the right thing…

    Hope that makes sense

  3. Maggie
    June 11, 2011 at 1:18 am #

    I have no advice and few predictions. Having been raised (and raised my kids) in the era before cellphones, I’m struck here by how much the world has changed. The first time I was ever away from my parents, I was home with a babysitter for a few days. The first time I was ever away from home, I was with my parents. At age seven I went to sleep-away camp for two weeks. Neither my parents nor I had the least expectation of speaking during the two weeks, though I was expected to write letters and received mail after about the fourth day. It was years before I realized that of course the camp did have a telephone and that they would have called my folks in an emergency. How cool that you can e-mail the chaperones and find out that he’s okay.

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