The nest is thinning

It’s moving day.

I’m not the one moving, but I am, of course, the one packing. In just a few short hours Man/Boy – er, Justin – will be moving into his first apartment. We’ve worked on a budget, done a little pre-moving shopping (“Yes, I do think it’s a good idea to get a can opener … and hangers … and a garbage can.”) and have all the utilities switched over to either his name or his roommate’s.

Yet here we are, day of the Big Move, and there are still piles of dirty clothes, empty boxes and a countertop filled with things to be packed.

I interrupted a game of something-or-other on Xbox last night to ask Justin if it was time to pack.

“Eh,” he says.

“Should we get all of your clothes and towels and dishes and start putting them in these boxes, or are you going to just take things to the apartment by the armload?”

“That last one, that’s how I’m going to move.”

Of course it is.

Fortunately he’s not moving far. And by “not moving far” I mean he’s moving into the next apartment building. We could look out our respective living room windows and wave – or stick our heads out and have a conversation. Yeah. That close.

This morning, as he’s at a training conference for work, I’m packing. And doing laundry. And washing the new silverware and cooking utensils.

Given this somewhat disorganized method of moving, I can’t help but wonder – because I am a Mom, after all – how he’s going to do. Yes, he’ll be close, but that’s just geography and circumstance. It’s a decent apartment at a decent price – good enough for a first place. I have no doubts that this is just as much the “changing of an era” as it would be if he’d moved across town or even across the state. We’ll run into each other in the parking lot, he’ll occasionally come over to sit with the dogs – but for all intents and purposes, he’s moving out.

Will he know how to load the dishwasher or will he let a disgusting pile of dishes pile up? Will he remember to pay his bills on time? Will he and his roommate get along?

It’s a bittersweet day for me. I’ve been responsible for his care and well-being for more than 20 years if you count the time I was taking care of myself while he was waiting to be born. I’ve applied Band-aids, helped with homework, held his hand to cross the street and celebrated his victories.

But I’d be lying if I said there were a few things I won’t miss: the new roll of toilet paper put on top of the empty roll; the breakfast/lunch/dinner dishes sometimes rinsed out placed on the counter, even when the dishwasher is empty; the giant bags of cereal on the kitchen counter (because 2 minutes after getting it out he’s forgotten where it goes?); and the piles of dirty clothes and empty Diet Mountain Dew bottles on the living room floor.

He’ll be fine. And if he needs me, I’m just a sidewalk away.

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