So, we converted what was supposed to be our master closet into a make-shift bedroom and put one of the younger boys in there so that we could accommodate Nate’s need for individuality! That move made him very happy for five years because it meant he had the biggest room of all and all to himself.
That changed when I got a call from a friend who had a set of bunk beds she wanted to pass on. I jumped on the opportunity since our bedrooms were small and these bunks had huge storage drawers on the bottom. In order to make the bunks work, they would have to go in Nate’s room since it had the longest wall and the other two bedrooms were too small.
That was when I capitalized on the opportunity to help Nate see that the expectation is for him to leave the nest.
I told him the bunks had to go in his room and he had to move into Caleb and Adam’s room. I promised to get the dried boogers off the wall and to paint over the baby blue color in there.
Nate didn’t like the idea at all. He had his room all set up with XBox Live, a TV, and as he pointed to his nightstand, he said, “Besides, I have my alarm clock here, my Ipod charger there and my cell phone charger over there, NO, I’m not moving!”
That was a good argument, but not good enough.
I told him that he WAS moving and all of his “stuff” would move with him. He couldn’t tie up that prime piece of “real estate” for four more years while he is in college and leave his little brothers are all cramped up in a tiny 8′ x 10′ room!
He reluctantly agreed and proceeded to move his belongings.
Later in the week, Nate noticed that I had all the boys’ social security cards in a pile next to the phone except for his. He also noticed that his picture was down from the wall where I have all five boys 8″x10″ school pictures evenly spaced at an angle going up the stairs.
He asked me if I was trying to “erase” him?
I moved his room, got rid of his picture and his social security card. I assured him that his existence was safe with me and that his picture actually fell off the wall following a foot stomping door slamming hissy fit from his 9-year-old brother and his photo was on my dresser waiting for me to find a new nail. Thankfully, the glass didn’t break.
The social security cards were gathered up because I was in the middle of switching bank accounts and Nate’s was in his room locked in his lock box so that’s why it wasn’t with the others.
No, I wasn’t trying to erase my son!
I am, however, preparing him for life on his own. My girlfriends listened to this story and one friend said, “You’re mean. Don’t you want them to have a place to call home?” (She still makes her kid’s peanut and butter sandwiches and he’s 17 – which is fine because she likes to do that. I am of the mindset that you give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats forever.)
My reply to her comment was, “That’s not mean. It’s a reasonable and responsible expectation of a grown-up person.” Nate will always have a home. He will always be our son, but he is no longer our baby.
He will always be welcomed and loved and wanted. He will also be expected to make sacrifices and contributions. He will work, pay rent and make his own sandwiches. Something tells me he will be just fine!