"Warning, Will Robinson. Your comfortable empty nest is going to have a new arrival for a few weeks. Chaos is imminent." On Saturday we have the return of our 24-year old, back from two years in Senegal through the Peace Corps.
It has always been a wonderful journey raising our children. It seemed so challenging when the kids were little as we nurtured them and help them grow up. But the older teen stage seemed so much worse. From that brilliant god-like status our IQ's plummeted in the eyes of our children. How could we be that stupid? Didn't we know anything? And I don't ever want to go back to all those after-school activities, pick-up and drop-offs and panic as they learned to drive.
I've really enjoyed our current state with our two children in their early 20's. They have both grown up to be really wonderful people. Now our challenge is to be there for them, be more of a mentor or coach than a parent, and allow their lives to unfold.
So - why am I writing this? Because we have two weeks of chaos that I have to pre-think my way through. My son has done a lot of prep work and he knows we will do whatever is needed to help him be prepared to fly to Atlanta mid-April and hike the Appalachian Trail. But we have to help him through priorities:
- Family and Friends. It's only two weeks, but people that love him, have asked about him for two years, and have supported some of his projects in Africa want to see him. He cannot just disappear until October. That would be wrong and we are helping (and coaching) here.
- Food. He's already asked about White Castle, Nathan's Hot Dogs, Chinese food and Bagels (poppy) with Lox and also lets get Whitefish, too!
He has no car. His grandparents from Florida are coming up for three days. His hiking partner will be arriving. He needs to buy more equipment. He needs to camp locally to test his equipment. And did we talk about more family and food?
Here's my plan:
- Take time off from work (I'll stay connected, though). Enjoy the visits with family.
- Help however I can, but this is his trip, his life, his money. I need to be an enabler and supporter, but my opinions are just opinions. He has to decide and I have to not judge!!
Deep breaths. Remain calm. If I survived his two years in Africa including our ten days with him (with more than half of those days far from civilization), I can survive these two weeks.
And then six months with him being on the trail.