My Son Got His Own Place – Why Do I Feel Sad? #DadChat

Category: Weekly Columns

BJ & Boys 9-04

My older son just moved into his own place, with two roommates. I played no part in its choice or the details of when, how, and how much other than some minor consulting. And, I didn’t even visit his place until two weeks after he’d moved in. Much to my surprise, I felt confused feelings (melancholy) after the visit and I’ve been pondering the reasons since.

Given the incredible difficulty our young adult children are having securing good employment and paying for their lives, an adult child that gets his own place is obviously a good thing. Yes, to a small degree, I am still helping my son but he is now paying his own bills, managing his own money, and hanging onto his own job.

He hates his job. That’s a good thing. It’s a minimum-wage job in fast food. You’re supposed to hate it. BUT, he’s stuck with it while many of his co-workers have left or been fired. He’s moved up the chain and is in line for a promotion. He is also carefully looking at other options. BUT, he didn’t quit in an emotional outburst and have to find a job while unemployed. He’s wising up!

And, shortly after I began this column, he got another job – higher pay and a better short-term opportunity. He gave “proper notice” at his previous job and will start “training” at the new job soon.

That is so cool to watch.

As a late 21st birthday event, he went to Las Vegas with a bunch of guy friends. His report about that trip was a trip in itself for me. Since he was wasting, I mean spending his own money; the impact of those purchases (and gambling) was quite direct. He didn’t like losing money or spending it on exorbitant things such as over-priced meals and lap-dances at a strip club.

He saw two of his buddies win “big” at the tables, spend some of their winnings on a limo and other extravagances, only to lose whatever much of what was left the next day. His reaction was “what a waste.”

How cool is that?

Was this the irresponsible teenage I had raised? Heck NO – and he wasn’t a teenager anymore.

And then I had a serious PR problem in my Social Media life, to put it mildly (the details are not relevant for this column). My son calmly gave me the best advice I could have gotten, talking about what to do and, that beyond doing what he suggested, it was beyond my control.  I did exactly what he advised.

By God, my son has grown up.

I might add that his younger brother has also grown up big-time and will be heading off to college – Syracuse – in the fall. Both have shown amazing growth and maturity.

But, I’m sad. And, I’m also proud. I’m sad to “lose” my boys – figuratively, of course but I’m so grateful that they have grown to be such mensches. A “mensch” is Yiddish for a really good person. It has NOTHING to do with how much money one has, it has EVERYTHING to do with character.

At this point, I’m sort of crying and crying out, “Thank You, God!”