This last week, I helped pack up loot for my boys and sent them out into the wilds to seek their fortunes. I felt a bit like the parents in fairy tales who wave goodbye to their children. True, my guys don’t have to fight actual dragons or rescue fair maidens (unless they want to) but the world is somewhat more Grimm-like than I remember it as a kid setting out. It’s a bit frightening.
Middle son – he’s off to continue his education at university – but the trials he has to endure to succeed include figuring out just what he needs to study to complete his degree (he’s changed majors) and what he wants to study to complete what he wants to know and hope like crazy they are the same thing. He’s with a friend in an apartment and fortunately has learned the skills of cooking and cleaning, but the budget monster lurks outside his door. I hate money. I suspect he does, too. I think we both prefer to just pretend we have it and can do as we wish. Unfortunately, neither of us can. I wish, so wish, that I had enough money that he would be able to spend this time just focusing on learning, but it’s not to be. I can’t believe that my parents were able to do this for the four kids they had and I am unable to even approximate it for my gang. It seems wrong to be poorer than my parents. But I am.
Youngest child son is living and working in his growing up town. So he doesn’t have a different city to get used to, but he does have to deal with his restless desire to leave town. He still has to focus on tasks, like the princes of old. He has to learn to look after himself, to support himself while working. He has to figure out where he wants to go, what three wishes he will ask Rumpelstiltskin when that time comes. He needs to decide what is important for him, how he will contribute, how he will gain strength. He’s already well on his way, but he does have mighty challenges ahead.
Packing them up with all my cast off kitchen stuff and old pieces of furniture and cookbooks and bedding and pictures, I felt like I was sending bits of my heart off with them. They are busy, and they keep their largest challenges secret from me, as I did from my parents. I’m glad about that – and besides, they need to learn how to best the challenges by themselves. So they’ll be dealing with a lot of things without the “help” of my advice and wisdom. I can’t help but hope, though, that there is a helpful princess or frog that will give them tips and secret tools to help them with what they need to do. By sending my stuff, I suppose I figure I can wrap bits of me around them like a magic spell, keep them safe and protected from the worst shocks ahead.
Meanwhile, my apartment is emptier, lighter, feels less encumbered. I wonder if the parents in the fairy tales felt the same way. A bit sad, a bit anxious, a bit relieved, a lot lighter.