Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Boomerang Boy, a Civic Soapbox Essay by Bobbi Snow
As time goes on, I realize we are just mother and son in real time. No going back to redo anything. Habits are set and, in fact, are even more pronounced when he slips into his old bedroom and old patterns. If I thought I ever had impact or control over his behavior, I was delusional anyway. It is clearer to me now that my son is his own person, on his own journey, and just happens to be my roommate. It is safe and comforting for him here. We have set up a routine of daily life as if he were a young dependent. But he is not so young. I did not mean to set this up; it just emerged.
I have always loved being Jake’s mother. I still do. But when is a good time for him to be more independent? According to the last census, 56 percent of men age 18 to 24 and 48 percent of women live with their parents. Certainly I never would have dreamed of moving in with my parents after college. I never would have expected any financial support or wanted any guidance, but then my parents did not know who I was. I kept myself hidden, had a superficial --but loving-- relationship of respect and distance. I took care of myself. In contrast, I know so much about my son Jake. My friends and relatives today know so much about their kids. We are in a different kind of culture than the one I am familiar with.
On this Mother’s Day I will celebrate how lucky I am to be Jake’s mother and will seriously consider whether I should propose that he and we might be better off if he had roommates closer to his own age. I am not sure how the conversation will go or if Jake will take me up on my suggestion but I do know I will reassure my “boomerang child” that he can stay as long as he needs to.
--- Bobbi Snow is the co-founder of the Community Public Charter School in Albemarle County