When Trevor was eighteen months old, he wanted one and only one thing for Christmas. Mr. Bucket. Mr. Bucket was a yellow bucket with a big smile and large red and white striped arms. He rolled around the floor, changing directions and waving his hands over his head. He popped balls out of his mouth and the players needed to scoop up their balls and try to get them back into the bucket. Trevor was obsessed with Mr. Bucket; so much so that we began calling him Mr. Bucket. Over time, our endearing tag line went to just “Bucket” and to this day, we occasionally, lovingly refer to him as “The Bucket.” Hence; as we prepare to send him off to college, the Bucket List.
I have been accused at times of being over-prepared for things in life; for overthinking, overanalyzing and as my mother-in-law put it, I am like a dog with a bone when I have something that I need to sink my teeth into. Making sure my son is “all set” to move out in 4 weeks has me in hyper drive, over-everything mode. This is not because Trevor is not capable. On the contrary, Trevor is the one I turn to when I need something figured out, when my car battery needs to be jumped or when I need someone that I know I can rely on. Trevor is self-sufficient.
Coming back from visiting his new college last spring, he told me that I have “overdone” things for my children….done too much for them, even though it seemed they always felt it was never enough. He said he wasn’t sure he knew what he needed to know to live on his own. He does.
I suppose I am guilty as charged.
Looking at my lists and the pile of stuff ready to move with him, I appear to have prepared his departure as if he is moving to a remote, uncivilized location where they do not have stores and as if he will not be back for the October break 5 short weeks after moving out.
Clearly, this is about my needs, not his. Perhaps it is my last infusion of feeling needed, knowing that from this point forward, the parent-child dynamic is changed forever. Knowing that in a few more weeks, the 6’ tall, buzz-cut blonde with big blue eyes will no longer appear in the kitchen doorway rubbing his stomach and saying “Mom, I’m hungry.” The boy who is beyond capable of making himself a sandwich, but still asks me to make them, either because he doesn’t want to do it, or because he knows I like to. He says it taste better when I make them and I tell him it is because I add something….Love. I don’t suppose there will be love in the sandwiches at college.
I am in reverse-nesting mode; disassembling part of our home to send away, knowing that the time has come; the time that I have been preparing him for all along, with roots and wings.
I will continue to work on the Bucket List, launching my son and myself to the next part of the journey with one revision. At the bottom of the list, I will add… ‘Let Go,’ knowing I have sent everything he needs to be prepared on the outside, the way that I know he truly is on the inside.