>What’s wrong with this picture?

>We just got home late last night from dropping Buddybug off at college,

again, for his second year.

He’s gone.
We are sad.
It was a long trip.
And it was an exhausting trip, what with the crazy long hot drive and packing and loading and unloading and trying to loft beds and move furniture at the same time as you need to chase down the fast four year old who is running down the hall and the surprisingly fast toddler chasing after him.
Heft that box, tote that bail, chase that little boy.
I let the men do most of the heavy lifting and cable wiring….I was left with something like a three day toddler mosh pit.

So it was a bit nuts, but our own brand of nuts, capped by the sad weeping goodbye (ok, me) and the snuffling and tears as we drove out of town (ok, me again).

You know…I know that it is hard for all families to drop off their kids at college. It’s always hard to say goodbye. And yes, we are truly happy for him that he has found a good fit and loves it there and is clearly thriving and where he should be…as far as this college concept goes. And happily, he is a young man who seems to be able to juggle the delicate balance of growing into the man he is to become and still stay connected to his family…and thus we are very blessed and thankful.

But that whole notion got me thinking and Coffeedoc and I talking this week, again……
{Yeah, we did have 9+ hours of driving in each direction. So, yeah, we had time to kill….}

And you know, in a way this is whole concept such a weird thing. A close family member, (ok – my dad,) said, “What? You’re driving him up? Does he want you to? I mean, I never hung with my family at nineteen, I was gone.” And at nineteen, I myself moved out and didn’t go home for the summer and really, never went back (shame on me and no wonder my father, yes the same one who made the comment above, was mad at me for months) and so did Coffeedoc.

Why is it that a nineteen year old is supposed to WANT to cut all contact with his family, to strike out in a solo free fall in independence? Why do people say aw, but nudge with a wink when they hear of a kid who has just well, left, for good. Why is it considered “weird” not to, or as parents are you considered “helicopter parents” if you cry when you say goodbye?

Are we freaks?

Maybe, I guess. I like to say we are nurturing parents who love our kids and see them for the amazing people they have grown up to be and, shhhh, LIKE them! And that the kid(s) are nice young people who are generous and kind enough to endure their parent’s desire to be with them and actually enjoy it a little bit as well.

So the question comes again: Why is it that to be and stay connected to family is considered somehow suspect or freaky?

Coffeedoc made a good point: it’s not. Or shouldn’t be. Or isn’t and wasn’t in other eras and cultures. This seems to be a strictly postmodern American phenomenon. Maybe not only American…but certainly postmodern. We are so set on making our MARK and being our own person that it doesn’t matter what ties are cut in the process, it’s all about ‘getting what you can and being the most you can be.’ And somehow that is solo; the uber John Wayne solo cowboy icon, applied and if you don’t like it, well something might just be wrong with you, pilgrim.

In other eras, and other cultures, it was/is NOT the norm to send your child off alone once they are capable of being more of a contributor to the family. It WAS/IS not considered a good thing for the child to want to cut ties and move away and create a whole new and wholly separate life from his family, that is what would be considered suspect. It WAS/IS the norm to enjoy spending time with your young adult or adult child and be pleased at having them feel the same way. It WAS/IS a living life together, all life long…extended, but together.

The order, somewhere along the way, flipped. The center is not holding.

And I don’t like it. I don’t like the postmodern phenom where I have to feel guilty for being so sad at having my good kind son out of the house. I can be happy for his adventures and want him to fly as high as God calls him, but also to remain connected.

I think of the classic image (maybe a fake celluloid creation or even stereotype, but meant in a positive way) of the Italian large busy family, multi generations living near each other, intertwining their mixed up lives. We could do that. I could easily put on a print dress, I’ve already got the gray hair and sturdy hands and legs and cook for a crowd. I’m all over the matriarch concept! And we love each other, loudly and quietly, with gestures, gifts, and presence. And somehow, that seems like it’s from a different era or place. But that, that image, that’s where I want to live, that’s the picture in my head. Surrounded by family, different ages and offshoots, busy but still connected and physically near close by and involved.
I think I’m moving to Italy.