Moving Out

It’s official. I’m a total sucker. And, the fact that other parents are equally culpable doesn’t make me feel better.

Yesterday, I drove from Atlanta to Chicago. An eleven-hour, boring ride through parts of Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. An exhausting trek that involved battling rain, construction, and slow moving eighteen-wheelers. A solo journey as a result of a husband who bailed at the last minute to go on a business trip instead. (I’ll deal with HIM later.) A few “vacation days” from work to help move our daughter to her new home.

And where was my precious child while my Prius chewed up the miles? Patiently waiting for me in Chicago, because she flew up there a few days before. Yup, that’s right; she embarked on a two-hour flight and I drove for half a day.

My husband’s brother and his wife just did the same thing. But, they drove eighteen hours – from Boston to Atlanta – to move their daughter into a new apartment. She, in turn, hopped on a plane and met them. To make matters worse, a friend from Ohio is about to take her son to college in Arizona and is planning to drive the thirty hours it’ll take to get to there. This is all crazy!

What’s wrong with today’s parents? Are we micromanagers? Did we enable dependent and needy behavior? Do we not trust our children to fend for themselves? Are we unable to let go?

After my freshman year of college, my parents didn’t pack me up or drive me anywhere. I became responsible for my stuff and for moving myself to and from school. When I got married after graduation (I was only twenty-one at the time), my new husband and I drove ourselves, moved in, and set up our new apartment in Syracuse. When we relocated to Boston (at the age of twenty-five) and later transferred to Atlanta (at twenty-seven), we didn’t ask for or expect any help. We managed just fine. We did what we had to do.

Now, I’m sure my parents loved and were concerned for me. And, if I were in desperate need of their help, they would have been there for me. But, I wasn’t and they weren’t. We left the nest and they sat there smirking; calmly waving goodbye.

Today is somehow different. Precollege, during college, and now post-college. My kids just assume that I will be on hand to help them in some way. And, because they genuinely seem to want me involved and engaged, I willingly oblige (apparently other parents do too!). I honestly can’t believe how often – in different States! — we’ve frequented Target; Bed Bath & Beyond; Ikea; Best Buy; Home Depot; and Lowe’s. I’ve constructed furniture; painted rooms and hung artwork; made beds and installed cable; hung curtains and fluffed up pillows. I’ve spent a small fortune and shlepped big bags all over town – to prove that I’m caring, loving, and supportive. Aaarrrggghhh! I guess I can only blame myself for enabling this expectation…

Okay. That’s it. I’m drawing lines with my maturing children. They don’t need fully and perfectly furnished apartments with every possible creature comfort. They CAN survive with just the basic necessities. They can take care of themselves. I was fine so I know they’ll be fine. They officially have moved out and are now on their own.

Once I make sure my daughter knows how to get from her apartment to her new office, I’ll drive my twelve hours back to Atlanta…

4 thoughts on “Moving Out

  1. Very cute and very true.

    I don’t know the answer but nobody helped Mom and me when we left Boston and moved to NY. Somehow we made it and in every place we’ve moved to …… and there have been many……..,we set them up and invited parents to visit.

    Do we not trust kids today? Have we not given them the right education on how to get along in this world? Or have we spoiled them because we went through challenges that were sometimes difficult.

    Hopefully, they’ll figure it out along the way.

    Sorry I didn’t help.



  2. Thanks for a preview of my life in two weeks, sending my daughter of to GW. Can you do it for me since you have the experience?

    By the way we are SUCKERS, can’t wait to see you and we will all have a drink.


  3. First of all Mazel Tov on Brandon’s engagement!

    On topic – when I became a case worker I had to take many developmental courses. I found out (too late) that a parent’s job was to make their child/ children INDEPENDENT! I failed miserably with 2 out of 3.

    See you soon.



  4. My mother took me to the airport when I left to go live in Los Angeles…I slept on the floor of my new apartment for a week before I was able to buy a bed. My mother did pay for and ship some of my stuff to me a few weeks later. It was the way it was and as depressed as I was about it, it’s just the way it was. I didn’t have husband or boyfriend to help and it was a few weeks before I saw the few relatives that I do have in LA. But I do hope that I can help my daughter more than my parents helped me.


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