Update: I have not written to you in over a year. So much has changed, we have much to cover so lets get right to it. We are getting old. Our last baby moved out and our bodies are continuing to fall apart.
This summer we moved the boy out to his own apartment. It was sad, horrifying, and exhilarating all at the same time. He graduated in May, moved out in late July and started his first full semester of college in August. The following is my recollection of moving day and the summer events that followed.
It was time. The boy found an apartment with his best buds and they signed a lease. “It is really nice, mom!”
That is what he said to me. I remember it clearly. He was so excited for the future and I loved that for him. I was terrified though. Would he be alright? What about feeding himself? Laundry? Would he wake up for work and school? Would they pay the bills fairly? So many thoughts. I asked all those questions, he was offended. I stopped asking and just hoped.
He said the apartment had a pool, a laundry facility, a workout room and it was going to be great. It put my mind at ease as I pictured a community party by the pool with young professionals all mingling and cohabitating in this really “nice” apartment complex.
We watched the boy taking SUV loads to his new place a full 24 hours before we officially planned to move his furniture. So proud of this young man, dutifully moving all he could on his own, without asking for anything at all. The same sweet boy who had just a few years back needed my help to peel the paper off his cupcake. My momma heart swelled with pride.
It was officially moving day. We waited and waited for him to show to put his heaviest furniture into the truck. Time was ticking. It was becoming a sweltering day in the south and by mid-morning and my patience was wearing as thin as the tank top I was beginning to sweat through. His powder blue ride finally pulls into the drive. I might note here that this was after a warning text that I was getting “hot and cranky” which I sent with what remained of my patience. He sauntered over to the front of the house and picked up the gaming chair I had been struggling for 20 minutes to get to the front porch. He lifted the thing like it was a mere inflatable lounger, with all the ease and grace of male youth. I looked on dumbfounded but grateful because I was red-faced, wheezing, and panting. I am neither male or youthful and it showed. We got everything loaded up and made our plan to caravan to this new place. This would be the first time we had ever seen it. I was excited albeit exhausted and ready for the next step.
Little did I know the next step was headed to the top of Mt Everest. Only in a narrow dark hallway. That smelled like stale weed. With a dirty carpet and questionable smears on the walls.
They had rented the upper floor and there was no elevator. I grabbed what I could and headed up the stairs. I held my breath, hoped for the best, and veered in the direction of the open door. The inside of the apartment was newly painted, and thankfully didn’t smell like cheap schwag. It was decent place, small, and obviously inexpensive furnished appliances but otherwise fine for a first apartment. They would later compete the place with mismatched furniture and accessories into a cute little party pad.
I asked about the “smell” in the hallway and was shushed. I guess nobody wanted to talk about it. Nobody offered me a tour either, so I took it upon myself to do the mom inspection duty. I looked in my boys bedroom, the kitchen and all it’s 3 cabinets and then checked out the bathroom. I found the new soap, hand towels, toilet cleaner brush and little rugs I had bought and laid it all out nicely. If nothing else the bathroom would be civilized.
Once everything was unloaded we headed back to the truck just in time to see a police car driving unreasonably fast in front of us and around to the side of the apartment complex. That was strange I thought to myself, looked to the boys other mom in the drivers seat, wide eyed and cautious. She said nothing, I think she was concerned but ehh, it was probably fine. The kid was moved in and we were free. Don’t freak about the little stuff she seemed to say to me with her eyes. Begging me not to run back upstairs and insist he come back home with us.
But we were not free. The next thing we knew a stranger, the kids new neighbor, told us we couldn’t leave. Could not leave? That was correct. The police had the entrance/exit blocked.
I considered again going back upstairs and throwing our boys things back down the stairs myself but was stopped when several more police cars arrived. I sat dumbfounded as they swarmed the building adjacent to where we were parked. I watched in absolute horror as they shouted to each other and the people watching this chaos unfolding around us all. They asked if we had seen anyone running. We had not. Thankfully.
The uniformed police group got back into their respective vehicles and left as suddenly as they came. Little did we know we would see why in just a moment.
We followed the last public vehicle out of the complex. Meanwhile I was texting the boy to lock the doors and describing what I just witnessed. I asked if he really wanted to stay there. He did. He said not to worry.
We got about a block down and there were the familiar lights and squad cars. It was the police, again. We slowed to catch a glimpse of what was going on and I heard shouting. Because I can’t mind my own business I rolled down the window just in time for “GET DOWN! GET DOWN! DROP THE GUN, NOW!”
I rolled the window up quickly and asked if we could please drive on. Now. Faster. I was terrified. Did they get the person? Don’t know. What did the person do? Did they live in the apartments? Don’t know. Don’t want to know.
Remembering back when the boy said it was “really nice” I asked him again, were the police there when you looked at the apartment? He said no. Did you look at your apartment? No, a model apartment. Ahh. Yes. We have learned a new lesson. He, to ask to see the amenities and the actual apartment, and I as his mother to trust that he will lock the doors and to let go of the anxiety that my child now lives in the worst part of town possible for the term of his lease.
A month later I asked if he would dog sit / house sit for us for a few days while we went north to visit my parents. He eagerly agreed, I suspect he said yes to have an entire house for himself, a stocked fridge, clean (not green!) pool to use and laundry services that were not coin-operated. I don’t care why he said yes, I just knew while I was gone he was safe. At home. My home. My safe, secure, tidy home without any need for police presence.
While we were away all was well at home but a menacing pain bothered my darling wife. She wasn’t able to join in on the family tradition of beer-drinking shenanigans. No corn hole throwing, no darts. Everything caused her pain. This was concerning and when we arrived back to our southern homestead she was still in pain. After much debating, she went to see her doctor for a referral to a surgeon. The surgery went on the calendar for October. Our adventures in a home without kids had a kink in it. New adventures in surgery as an old person was just beginning.