Replacing the college kid

August 18, 2018


In preparation for taking my youngest son to college in a couple of weeks, I’ve wisely anticipated the difficult areas that may cause great heartache and have taken steps to avoid gut-wrenching bouts of sobbing I hear so many other mothers experience.

My eldsest son just graduated from college and although it was difficult to let him go four years ago, it was great practice (his little brother actually refers to him as the “practice baby”) and now, I’m a pro and know just what to do to maintain my sanity with this last son.

Using technology and a little ingenuity, we’ve devised a modern plan to replace our baby, so we barely notice the void in our lives.

The first step was when my techie-husband outsourced Joseph with an automatic-robotic lawn mower. The beagle stalks it around the yard while barking, and the big dog just runs away and hides.

I went low-tech with another problem and bought a set of pliers to keep in the kitchen, since Joseph usually helps me open all the jars. His strong hands can pop open the tightest olives or mayonnaise and I knew with him gone, I’d end up sitting cross-legged on the kitchen floor, sobbing, surrounded by a circle of capers, pickles and jelly jars. My husband laughed at my new set of pliers and informed me they make special tools especially for opening jars, but I think serious pliers are the way to go. The trouble was, when I tried to open the package of pliers, I almost cut my hand off on the hard-plastic package, so Joseph had to rescue me one last time.

Joe was home schooled the past few years and often sat at the kitchen counter while I cooked dinner. He not only popped the jars open but kept me company and also kept me laughing. We replaced his chatter with an Apple HomePod that responds and talks to us and plays the latest news and music and answers questions like, “Hey Siri, what’s the weather?” It’s not nearly as witty as Joseph, but it’s better than harsh silence.

One of them isn’t allowed on the sofa.

There’s no technology in the world that will help us with the worst job of all in preparing for our son to leave — training his dog not to cry when he’s gone is hopeless. Even for short periods of time, Doug (the big hound) will stare out the door and wait for his boy to return. Doug knows something is up and has been curiously watching the pile of college supplies stack up and is a nervous wreck. When Joseph is long gone to college, Doug won’t know what to do. If my missing son doesn’t break my heart, watching his dog sit and cry at the door surely will.

With a robot lawn mower, new set of pliers, a HomePod gadget, and medication for the dog, I guess I’m ready for this transition. This time there will be no tears. I’m a modern mom who is equipped for the future. I’ll skype Joe and give my laptop a big hug and it will feel like he’s home in my arms, won’t it?


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