I want everyone to know that I’m handling Offspring’s adulthood and life choices with grace and dignity.
Oh, shut up.
You know, maybe the problem isn’t me. Maybe the real problem is that Husband is making things more difficult (as usual) and worse than they need to be (also as usual.) Did any of you consider that possibility before you leapt at the chance to mock me?
Take the other morning, for example. There I was, coming off a migraine and waking up to THE DAY MY BABY SIGNED AWAY HIS SOUL. We were supposed to take him to the recruiting station, from whence he would be whisked away to the MEPS station for processing. Doesn’t that just sound ominous? Processing is never good. Processed foods? Best avoided. Processing people has historically led down a bad road too, now that I think of it… I shouldn’t have let him go. WHY DID I LET YOU TALK ME INTO THIS???
ME: Shhh… head.
HIM: Okay, but do you want to get up and hug your son before he leaves?
ME: You mean before my baby leaves forever?
HIM: … Until he comes back tomorrow, yeah.
ME: You don’t know that. What if they sell him on something we didn’t approve? I don’t like that we’re not allowed to be there.
HIM: You mean like ebay? Or a different career?
ME: Career, smartass. Although…
HIM: He won’t take it.
ME: What if they offer him an even bigger bonus for like, ordinance disposal or something?
HIM: (considers) … I’ll talk to him
ME: Before he leaves forever.
HIM: I’ll bet that he comes back tomorrow (hurries off to warn our son about the exciting world of things that go boom)
ME: AND WE’RE GONNA TALK ABOUT YOUR GAMBLING PROBLEM, TOO!
Here’s the other thing—and I’m sharing this with you because we’ve already established that I can be real with you once in a while and you won’t judge me—all did not go as planned. And I, as you may have noticed by now, do not deal well with change people fucking with my carefully ordered universe.
Offspring came home from MEPS all signed up for the Army, but not for any of the jobs we’d discussed.
Not—and I’m still twitching so bear with me—for any of the nice, safe, interesting jobs we discussed. No, instead he signed up for a communications specialty he mentioned once, months ago, that we thought we’d adequately explained would be a very bad idea for Reasons. Offspring, being 18 whole years old and possessed of a brain perfectly suited to making bad decisions 24/7, apparently decided we didn’t know what we were talking about and that the building with the satellite dishes on it isn’t a priority target for any sophisticated enemy… nobody knows enough, he reasoned, to take out those buildings and trucks first, right?
Not gonna lie, I did some screaming. Then I did some cleaning.
I even vacuumed the stairs, and you know how I hate that.
Offspring went to stay with a friend for a few days, so we could all cool down and do some quality thinkin’ about what we wanted to say to each other.*
And now? Now I’m adjusting… slowly. Offspring is packing… slowly. And Husband is telling extra Army stories to fill in the gaps, because that’s what he does. He’s always sort of smoothed the way between his irascible wife and reckless son.
ME: I need you to eat at least some of your greens and your chicken.
OFFSPRING: I want cake!
ME: And your birthday cake is waiting for you downstairs, just as soon as you’ve eaten at least a little of your healthy dinner. This is the dinner you asked for, and we’re all eating it.
OFFSPRING: I can have cake now, and veggies later.
ME: (clenches jaw) Noooo… You’ll eat at least some of your green veg—you’ve had some yellow, so that’s fine—and some of your chicken, and then you can eat cake. Otherwise we’ll just eat cake without you.
HIM: (tenses, smelling ozone)
OFFSPRING: (slams fork down beside plate) I AM FOUR YEARS OLD AND YOU CANNOT TREAT ME LIKE THIS.
ME: (sees red)
ME: (nuclear countdown reaches zero)
HIM: (places hand over mine) Very good, Offspring, well done! That’s excellent practice for fourteen years from now, when you’re an adult and can say that!
HIM: Now, how about we finish this nice dinner so we can eat some of that delicious cake?
OFFSPRING: (spears broccoli)
ME: (slowly unclenches)
* That part of having an adult child is kind of cool, by the way—you can’t send the little ones away for too long without someone getting cranky.