I’ve been asking Child to clean his room for ages. For 9 years since we moved into this house and everything he owned got spread out in a thin layer over his whole room. Perfectly balanced *everywhere*. In the last 9 years, he’s cleaned his room to a compliance level that feels GoodEnough to him. Sometimes that bar was the same as mine, sometimes notsomuch. But this week, I’ve been watching him clean up his room like he’s moving out. Because, I guess, he is. From Green Army Men to Air Force Communications and Electronic Engineering, in 3.8 seconds.
Last Friday, I sat in the Warplane Heritage Museum and listened to my son swear an oath of allegiance to the Canadian Armed Forces.
I, <child’s name here> do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second, her heirs and successors, according to the law. So help me God.
And done. And two days hence, he’s off to the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School .
My friends have asked me how I feel, and I thought that I wouldn’t be bothered through the summer. He’s spent various amounts of time between 2-6 weeks of cadet training, weeks in Europe, Regional Expedition… I don’t see him for most of the summer, and haven’t for years. This should feel usual, right?
Except that the floor in his room is bare. There’s not a mountain of boythings on the futon under his loft bed. You can *tell* that there’s a futon under his bed. The books in his library aren’t falling off the shelves for the volumes of them. His room is emptying of Nerf things and RC cars and his toybox somehow migrated to my kitchen. Even King Louie of Dogswald knows something is going on. He usually goes into Child’s room, stands there, and then backs out a few minutes later. Now, he goes in, turns around. He was laying on the floor earlier in the week.
By some luck of the draw, Child is headed to Basic Training on the same day my Gentleman Associate and I are headed away on vacation as well. We’ll be at the airport at the same time, even. He’ll be headed to Montreal, and we’ll be headed to Florida, and it means that we can be with him beyond security. I’m not sure what that extra hour will do for either of us, but there you go.
Child said he was going to write me actual pen-to-paper letters. I asked him not to. If there’s one thing that I know my kid isn’t good at, it’s paperwork. And if he starts seeing letters as paperwork, and shoving them off into the FutureChild pile of Things To Do, it won’t be a communication, it will be a chore. And I don’t want to add anything additional to the things he has to manage. Through 2 week training courses, and 3 or 6 weeks training courses, or 10 days in Europe (3 times), or a month in Edinburgh, he hardly contacted me. When he needed something, he did. And I hope that’s what he continues to do. But now, his truth is that he is finding his own path, and his duty is to learn to navigate that path.