I lucked out with my kid. Alec has always been adaptable and learned to go with “mom’s flow”, which happens to be a bit erratic and ever changing. Regardless of all the trauma that’s happened in our lives, he’s pushed through and pushed forward. But like most everyone’s 2020, Alec hasn’t had it so easy. It started out pretty rough when his car was stolen from his apartment parking garage, then COVID came and his senior year of college ended with a bit of a whimper, instead of the big celebratory bang we’d had planned for him back in Dallas. I think missing out on his graduation milestone was harder on me than for him.
We hadn’t seen each other for months, but because the airlines are still stuffing passengers in like sardines, Alec didn’t feel comfortable flying to Seattle to stay with us. So my newly minted fully adult child drove his first solo cross-country road trip- 27 hours from Lubbock, TX to Seattle. It was so nice to finally see him again and things felt almost normal. Regardless of how old your kids are, they will always be your kids...so now I’m a bit more forgiving of my own mom for still nagging and constantly checking up on me. Luckily, he was pretty forgiving too, because this momma is full of questions: Where do you want to live? Where do you want to work? What are your next steps?
Much like everyone else, we were struggling with the ambiguity. But having a chance to breathe and reflect, Alec was able to decide on the where: Austin! It was where he’d grown up, spending 8 years there before I swept him up and moved us back to Dallas when things with my late husband went from bad to worse. Alec was 14 years old and about to start high school- not exactly the easiest age to uproot and make new friends. But being the easy-going guy he is, he made it work for us... for me.
So Austin it was! And that’s where we decided to get him settled as he starts to focus on his job search. As a final send off to my (not really) baby, we planned our 4 day road trip back to Texas just the two of us, and decided to do a few stops along the way. Moab was in our direct path, so we definitely had to do a quick hike there. It was interesting to see Alec’s serious and cautious personality come out, I had been under the impression he was an adventurer like me! Though maybe since his mom is a bit of a wanderer, he appreciates more predictability.
Honestly, we didn’t know his entire plan in Austin when we started our drive. The trip was really a nice opportunity for us to catch up, take our time, sing along to some Foo Fighters, and talk about a lot of our shared memories- including our hasty escape from Austin almost a decade ago. We both reflected on the way our lives- his life, rather- has come full circle. It just so happened that a friend from those early years was looking for a roommate, and in a neighborhood we knew well! He’ll be living a mile away from the house he grew up in, and surrounded by his best friends (who stayed his best friends) who he had to leave behind 9 years ago. I can’t wait to see how he flourishes in this city because I know the strength and heart he has. This kid (yes, still), has been through more in his 22 years than most adults have in their lifetime, yet I see him coming out on top, not bitter but full of grace, and hungry to move on to his next phase in life. I have no doubt he'll create an amazing life for himself as he settles down in Austin, but a little part of me will always want him to be my little boy again.