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Air Freshener and Adult Kids

I read a lot about parenting, the do’s and dont’s, the must’s and must not’s, the how to’s. A lot of it is good information, some is laughable, and some sounds good on paper. Most of it, however, only talks about parenting younger children. Or teenagers.

But where is the information on being the mother of adult children?

My boys are 20 and 22, young men now. They work, pay bills, and for the most part, don’t really seem to need their mother anymore.

At least, that’s how it feels to me, especially now that neither of them lives with me.

I live alone now. In the beginning, I was excited at the opportunity. After spending pretty much the entirety of my adult life taking care of other people, I was ecstatic for the chance to just be alone. Ah, the wild parties and late nights I would have!

The truth, however, is not quite what I imagined. For instance, I went to bed last night before eight o’clock.

But I digress.

As I said, the truth is somewhat different. After separating from my husband this year and moving out, my boys stayed in the same house they’d lived in for over half their lives. Because they were already home and comfortable. With him. Their step-father. Who loves them, and whom they love just as much.

It isn’t like we didn’t give them a choice. They were free to stay or go. I promised to provide a place for them if they wanted to move with me, but they chose to stay with the familiar.

I understand it, truly I do. But I’m constantly battling the feeling that I’ve abandoned my adult children.

The other day, my oldest messaged me on Facebook to send his step-father a text to let him know he’d made it to Canada safely. I did so, and promptly cried my eyes out.

Because I’ve become the go-between. The messenger for the parent they still live with.

Sometimes I feel like I’m more the step-parent than their step-father is, and it really, really sucks.

Not to mention, I didn’t even realize he was taking a trip to Canada, and… when had I become so disconnected from my children, and am I really that disconnected, and why don’t they call me more often, and why don’t I call them more often, and they hate me for the choice I made, and oh my God I’m a terrible mother, and I wonder if they think I’m a terrible mother, and I bet they hate me for leaving, and sometimes I hate myself for leaving but I wanted the chance to be happy, and they probably don’t think about me at all, and I bet they have the best time just the three of them being guys and cooking Top Ramen and pork rinds and farting, and oh my God they’re probably all eating Top Ramen and pork rinds every day, and I’m SURE they don’t think about me at all, and don’t be silly they didn’t eat pork rinds before why would they start now, and I hope they remember to buy enough air freshener for all that farting, and why oh why did I do this and leave my children, and God I’m glad I’m not there for the farting, and I didn’t just leave my husband I deserted my family, and maybe I’d deal with the farting just to be with them again, and I gave up my right to do whatever I want when I had children, and what the hell was I thinking?????

And when is my life my own?

Will I ever feel like I deserve to live it? On my own terms?

No one tells you that these feelings, this mother vibe that runs through every fiber of your body, will never go away. That loving your children and being their mother and feeling responsible will never go away.

And there are no articles or handbooks or instruction’s anywhere that tell you how to make that go away, or even how to deal with it. As hard as I try, I can’t help imagining my kids as, well, kids… and they’re eating dry Top Ramen because they’re not allowed to use the stove, and I’m not there to help them.

Knowing the truth, that they really are old enough to boil water on their own, doesn’t negate these feelings.

So, here I am, in my forties, crying my eyes out over a 22 year old man who safely drove all the way to Canada without telling his mother.

Wondering if I’m going to always feel this way, hoping it fades soon.

And hoping that it never does.

Because in the end, no matter how many mountains I climb, or books I write, or adventures I have, I’m pretty sure the best thing I’ve ever done is help raise those two men.

I guess the best I can do now is try to let them know how much I love them and that they always have a home with me if they need one.

And, just because I know it’ll happen anyway and the whole I’m-your-mom-and-I-totally-have-to-love-you-no-matter-what thing, I’ll totally deal with the farting.

I’ll just buy lots and lots of air freshener.

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