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.