Just thinking out loud…. Don’t mind me.
I don’t think I slept the day before I started college, maybe it was nerves, maybe it was excitement, probably was the partying I did all week to commemorate leaving. What I do remember that it was morning, and it was time to go. My father was busy, my mother didn’t drive so instead of the unofficial bring your parents to school day that usually is the first day of college, it was me and my luggage making the 3 hour greyhound from Boston to Amherst. It was me and that same luggage years later, crashing at this place for a few days, a couple weeks, a summer, I was homeless. I was never like on a park bench homeless but I wasn’t on any leases, wasn’t in anyone’s care, I just went one day to the next just trying to get on my feet and stay out the way. I was grown, and was raised under no one was taking care of a grown ass man. Tough love and whatnot. I wouldn’t wish my late teens/early twenties on anyone, it wasn’t the most pleasant years, struggling to pay for school, organizing my crashes so I dont wear out my welcome one place or the next, some days just not eating (yet still too fat for the military…but that’s another story). But don’t cry for me Argentina, yada yada yada I’m living better now Versace sweaters now (well not plural but still).
I been reflecting on my past lately, thinking about Mike Brown, Trayvon and some #familybusiness I won’t discuss, how I see boys and others see grown ass men. Made me think of how I was viewed only a handful of years ago. This tweener phase when one wants to be grown but really isn’t, and as evidenced personally most just aren’t about that life. There’s the fork in the road of tough love vs flat out coddling. We’ve all seen the cliche 30 something stay at home son who just plays video games and call in sports radio, but then the alternative is a 18 year old boy cast out into the world because his mother is tired of talking to him. There’s the parent who wants to be the best friend and hang with their adult child and then there’s well, my father who raised me and pretty much punched out of work. Of course, I’m not a parent myself so I can only speak from a limited perspective but I guess I can just stop tip toeing around my question:
Why are we so quick to discard our young?
Again, I wasn’t kicked out, I chose to leave and circumstances beyond my control locked the door behind me. However, plenty of my friends were. The reasons, talking back, girls, running the streets stuff that isn’t exemplary but now they’re young, homeless, and making a wage they can’t live off of. Then on the other end of the spectrum, I know people in their mid to late 20s who live at home, most of which never left. However, even they have tales of threats, drama and resentment, not kicking out but its very apparent they are not wanted. I can’t imagine that being any more pleasant. We all see what the world is, and how it can chew one up and them out why are the first blows coming from the nest?
That’s not to say, shield them from it but I can’t say I’m in the camp of tossing them out into it either. There has to be some middle ground between “my roof my rules” and your kid and their kid both calling you “Mom”. What is “grown” now? I can say I don’t think its 18, 19 or even 20 now. I can only hope I keep my baby off the pole and my boy
out of the national headlines for being executed without fault and then being told how he deserved to die because dark skin is “scary” out the basement.