When is it time?

21 07 2009

My son was turning  on the kitchen stool while I was preparing dinner. ‘do you think I’m ready?’ he asked. I took a few minutes to answer his question. I knew what he was talking about. He wanted to know if I thought he was ready to go out on his own. Ready to move to an apartment and start his own life. I know he was certainly old enough and had enough money to tide him over any rough times. He was always a saver and a very responsible person. But I just didn’t think he was quite ready for that big step. So I answered ‘No, I don’t think so right now. Wait a while longer. You will be glad you did.’  He was never one to argue any point, so he just said ‘O.K.’ stepped down off the stool and left the room. He never mentioned it again until almost a year later. Then he asked me the same question once more. ‘Do you think I’m ready?’ This time I answered quickly. ‘Yes, I think you are.’ With that, he bounded out of the room with a big grin on his face.

He moved shortly afterwards, sharing a rented house with a friend.

It is always hard to watch your children grow up and go out on their own. But when they are ready, they are simply ready.  They have that certain maturity about them that you can see when you carry on a conversation or watch them with their friends. They are their own person, confident, ready to face the world. With some, the time comes earlier and you have to almost hold them back by their shirt tails because they are not quite old enough in years for that step. But they are so eager to face the world and conquer it. And they want to go, go, go. Get out in the world. Face the challenges. And you know deep inside that they are not quite ready for that. So you hold on awhile longer, pulling them back, keeping them home.

I guess birds have an advantage over humans on this score. They know instinctively when their young are ready to fly the nest. In fact, they push them out the door. We humans have a tendency to hang on to our offspring. We don’t want them to have any failures. We don’t want them to make any mistakes. And yet, we did. We had to learn to build our own bridges. And the young ones will learn also.

So when they ask ‘Do you think I’m ready?’ be honest with them. If you think they are, then give them your blessings and send them on their way. If you do not think they are ready, then tell then to wait a while longer. But know in your heart that they are going. Very soon. And you will be ready when they are. After all, you raised them to do just this. To go out into the world on their own and begin their own life.

You don’t have to push them out of the nest like the birds. But be sure and put a smile on your face and send them off with a big hug. Be happy for them when you know they are ready.