The middle kid turned 18 a few days ago and that’s a whole interesting thing. My friend Lena refers to her role in her adult children’s lives as being “a consultant” and I have been slowly shifting myself into that role over the past while.
He still lives at home, is still in school, has (maybe) a part time job to pay his bills, drives his own vehicle. He now has the (legal) ability to contact his biological mom. He has an extended curfew on weekends.
I moved out of my parents’ home around the same age and I have been wracking my brain trying to remember that whole time period. It was only a few months later that my mom died and I was depressed – so some of the details are blurry and distorted. I remember a terrifying and delightful sense of freedom.
I moved into residence (paid for by my parents) I was still learning how to budget and grocery shop and cook – combined with a lack of interest in doing any of those things and a new freedom to subsist off of junk food. I got pretty good at doing laundry. I made new friends who were quite different from my old friends, in various ways, and my world in general expanded significantly.
This kid’s experience won’t be like mine – but the offloading of responsibility (from parents to him) is slowly happening. I am working really hard not to tell him anything he doesn’t ask about – which requires me to keep my mouth shut more than I’d like.
Assuming he graduates from school on the expected timeline, it is quite possible that a little over a year from now he’ll be living somewhere other than in this house – maybe on his own, or with friends, or maybe he’ll move to another province where his biological mom lives. It’s also possible he’ll decide to do that sooner if he can financially swing it. The rules at home aren’t remotely intense but, like all fledgling adults, he bristles against them anyway.
I try to consider whether I’ve imparted all of the knowledge he’ll need in life – I know that I haven’t. But that’s part of life. He’ll figure out what he needs to know as it becomes relevant. He may ask for this consultant’s assistance (or not) in the process.
I would like to follow him around and lecture him about bill paying and budgeting and how to sort laundry and how not to get scammed by credit cards and.. nope. I’ve accepted that he’ll make mistakes the same way everyone else does/did.
Really, I am hoping that I have taught him to be compassionate to the world around him, and to be responsible, and to take care of the things that matter to him. So far, all indications are that I achieved that part.