My Scrambled Nest

An Almost-Empty Nest Journey of "Letting Go" With Laughter and Love, By Cathy Free

Mom to son (inspecting the Victorian apartment he is now renting with two friends near the University of Utah): “So all of the bedrooms are in the basement? Is there a fire escape? Do the windows open?”

Son: “How should I know? We just moved in.”

Mom: “OK, I’ll go check.”

Son: “What? Why? We’ll be fine!”

Mom: “But what if there’s a fire? Or an earthquake? What if you have a loud party and need to flee the cops in the middle of the night?”

Son (exasperated): “That was YOUR life. Trust me, we’ll all be too busy studying.”

Mom (walking downstairs to son’s room): “Hmmmm. OK, but I’d still like to check.”

Son (rolling his eyes): “Whatever! You’d better not break that window.”

Mom: “Well, it’s a little rusty, but it opens. That’s good. But this house was built with Victorian people in mind. They were actually quite slender without all of their bustles and fussy hats and overcoats. This is a small window. Maybe we’d better see if you can fit through it.”

Son: “No way! You’re too paranoid! It’s FINE!”

Mom (looking in another bedroom on her way upstairs): “It looks like Ben’s window is plenty big. So THIS is your escape route. Got it?”

Son: “Whatever! Would you stop? We’re not going to burn the house down!”

Mom (peering into the empty fridge upstairs): “Well, a fire certainly won’t be started by any of you cooking. I can see that. How about if I run and get you some groceries?”

Son: “We’re fine! We’ll just eat at the coffee shop across the street in the morning.”

Mom: “But what about TONIGHT?”

Roommate No. 1 (entering kitchen): “I have a case of Top Ramen.”

Roommate No. 2 (shouting from the living room): I have a couple of cans of chili.”

Mom: “All right then, I guess you’re all set. That’s too bad because I was thinking of going to Crown Burger to get burgers and milkshakes so you won’t starve on your first night.”

Son and roommates (in unison): “Really? Sweet!”

Now that I’ve just shared an early supper with my son and his two friends (they’ve known each other since kindergarten), I can say without a doubt that the old Irish proverb is true: “Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is.”

Are you looking to have a meaningful conversation with your 20-year-old son after he’s just moved into his first apartment? Food, people. Food!


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