As of Friday, May 30, our oldest offspring has come out to Portland to live. For the time being (emphasis his), he will be staying with us until he gets his feet on the ground.
He comes our way after living on his own for six years in Lansing, Michigan, where he attended Michigan State University. He loved Lansing, and worked his ass off to make that his home. He’d still be there if he hadn’t encountered two things; a visit to Portland last Christmas, and a seriously depressed economy in Michigan. He pushed the rock up the hill by himself as long as he could, but when you’re in the wrong environment, there’s only so far will and perseverance will take you.
Matt already has a job, and will transfer within the company to a location out here. But what he really wants to do — what he’s always wanted to do — is open a restaurant, starting at the lowliest busboy position, learning the ropes and working his way up. He worked at a couple of diners in Lansing, but the instability of the food business in that town made dependable hours impossible. And it’s hard to get to work in Michigan in the snow without a car. I suspect suffering on foot through the winter they just had in Michigan had something to do with his decision.
So he has come to Portland to start again, as it were. What a lovely place to make a start. I don’t know what direction this change will take him, only that no matter what he does, he will work like a man possessed. He has his flaws (like all of us) but he’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever known.
I know part of my excitement has to do with what I didn’t get to do at his age; to take opportunities that arise, to seize on them with both hands, to wrestle from them whatever he can. I made choices at the age of 20 that determined the choices I would make for the next 20 years. He’s not locked in to any long-term positions yet, and he has the chance to go for whatever he wants. And I support his ability to make these decisions, and I support him, no matter what.
For a few months, I have my oldest son back. My daughter has one of her brothers, at least until she goes off to school in the fall. They didn’t get to become close as teenagers because of their age difference, and now they have that chance. My husband has someone to talk cigars and bikes with, another male perspective in a home that’s been dominated by women for a few months. We’ll find balance again, then someone will go another direction, and we’ll rejigger our dynamic.
My brother in law used to jokingly call us the Vicencio-Currell Home for Wayward Geniuses. When the kids were younger, this was a cute turn of phrase, but it’s become our reality in the last few years. My happiest knowledge is that my adult children are comfortable enough with Tim and me to say “hey, I need to lean on you a little while”. There’s no guarantee that you’ll have a good relationship with your kids when they become adults, and Tim and I worked hard on that transition. I want them to always know they can come to us when they need us. This is what family is supposed to be.
I know Matt–and Sophia–will find a way to be on their own. They are both determined to be independent, separate from us. This is as it should be. For now, I get two of my three favorite young people in my home again, if only for a few months. Only this time, we get to be together in my personal heaven.
Next step; convincing the youngest child to move out here. 🙂