Moving Out

Here’s a story for Kaitlin on moving day. Like the best of possessions that we accumulate and move from home to home throughout our lives, it’s mercifully light and has legs of its own.

I remember when I told my parents that I was moving out. Actually, I didn’t tell them, I asked for their consent at the dinner table one night when I was 18. We all knew that was a formality, but it was the right thing to do. My mother reverted to her meltdown mantra, asking “What did I do wrong?” Then she began to cry. My father looked at me for a thoughtful moment, then said in what I call his Rock of Ages voice, “You know, Mark, I’ve had my children around me for thirty years. You get used to that and don’t think about it ever ending. I’ll miss you when you go.”

Then I began to cry.

Thirty years later, I reprised the scene with my son, also 18, and I could pull this story out of my emotional repertoire. By then I could play all the roles, even my mother’s.

Good luck in your new place, Kaitlin!

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2 Responses to Moving Out

  1. foshowley says:

    It’s nice to know they don’t want you to go, isn’t it… but almost makes the decision harder. I came home after graduation b/c my dad got sick. He’s “on the mend” as he likes to say so I feel like I’m leaving him and my mom at a good time. It totally took me a couple months to decide and week to pack, though. Not because I have a lot of “stuff” but because your dad was right, you get used to thinking it’ll never end. As much philosophy as I read, and I read a crap load this week, the decision’s still feels weird and I’ll probably have to push myself out the door. But when you know, you know.

    Fond thanks, Mark!

  2. Mark Willis says:

    My folks had a second honeymoon after I moved out, though they didn’t say it that way. I didn’t move far, and I bet you aren’t moving far, either. I still cruised the refrigerator first thing upon coming home. Turns out the apple doesn’t roll very far from the tree. I live in their house now, celebrating their spirits, and when my son comes home he cruises the refrigerator, too.

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