Monday, January 21, 2013

A fledgling

Fledge is the stage in a young bird's life when the feathers and muscles are sufficiently developed for flight. It also describes the act of a chick's parents raising it to a fully grown state. A young bird that has recently fledged but is still dependent upon parental care and feeding is called a fledgling.  (definition from wikipedia)

Occasionally you may find a baby bird on the ground, under a tree or bush with a nest.  If the bird has all its feathers and appears to be healthy, this is most likely a fledgling.  Many people will pick the bird up and attempt to put it back in the nest only to go by the same tree or bush and find the baby bird back on the ground.  When you put the bird back in the nest, you aren't helping the bird.  In fact, you're just making the maturation process more difficult.  This time period is needed to prepare the bird for life on its own.  Remember, the parents are still caring for the bird.  They are just doing so from a distance.

I have a fledgling.  It's not a bird, but the definition fits.  I'm trying so hard to kick it out of the nest that his butt may end up with my footprint on it.

He is incredibly reluctant to move out.  I don't know if it means he's not ready or if the idea of change is just too overwhelming to him and he's paralyzed with fear?  Today I'm forcing him to submit ads in the local on-line paper and on craigslist for roommates.  He's already purchased the house and is already making mortgage payments, but he hasn't moved out of our house.  I don't understand the thinking behind this.

I have never been able to find the carrot that motivates my son.  I've been looking for it ever since he was a toddler.  I've tried the reward system.  I've tried bribery.  I've tried punishment.  Nothing has ever worked.  Now I find myself pushing my son out of our home.  He has a place to go.  He has a home.  He will only be seven miles away from us.  If he wanted, he could come to our home and have dinner every night.  My husband and I have made this opportunity for transition as gentle for him as possible.  But, for the last two weeks my son has come up with every excuse in the book to keep from moving out.  First he had a bad cold.  Ok, I get that it's tough to do stuff when you don't feel good.  Then, it was raining.  Ok, I get that moving in the rain isn't that much fun.  Then, he couldn't get ahold of his buddy that said he would help him move.  Too many excuses.  It's time to go.

I know once he gets moved into his new place, he will be fine.  I know once he gets his first roommate, he will be fine.  If any issues or questions arise, he can come to us for advice.  We won't be watching his every move.  I won't be telling him to wash his clothes.  I won't be making his meal choices for him.  I won't be telling him to brush his teeth at night.  (yeah, I know, but that's what moms do sometimes)  He will be just fine.  He will succeed.  He can do it.  He just has to take that first step and move out.

Being the mom of the reluctant adult isn't easy.  I know when I moved out of my parent's home, I couldn't move out fast enough.  So what does this say about me?  Does my son what to stay because he has such a great life at my house?  Did I want to leave my parent's home because I couldn't stand living there?  Is my son suffering from the "extended adolescence syndrome" I have blogged about in the past?  Sure, moving out and living on your own is scary.  Sure it is.  But it is worth it.  I know he will learn to love his independence and he will slowly grow into his responsibilities.  He can do this.

I guess I'm looking for any encouraging words.  Am I pushing too hard?  Am I being a good mom?  I mean, what is the definition of a good mom?  In the bird world the mom pushes the baby bird out of the nest and allows him to fall to the ground.  Does she know the fall won't kill him?  I think she does.  She knows his wing muscles are strong enough to slow his descent.  The mama bird has to be extra vigilant over the fledgling.  There are cats and other predators out there.  Not only does she have to help the fledgling by feeding him, she now has to protect him, and she has to do it from a distance.  I really don't see a whole lot of difference in, what may end up being, my new parenting style.

Btw, I'm scared, too.

from wikipedia

100.  My son did post ads for getting a roommate on craigslist and the local on-line classified.  And, he's started to get calls
101.  Hearing the excitement in his voice when he called me
102.  Dreaming of having all his stuff out of my house
103.  Getting pics texted to me from my husband while he is having a ski vacation.  He's having so much fun
104.  Plowing through a gigantic workload
105.  Feeling a little successful at being an encourager (not my strong suite)
106.  My health (although I do take it for granted sometimes)
107.  People who tell the truth
108.  Soup, any kind
109.  A good dentist


  1. I'm with you - I couldn't move out of my parents' house fast enough.  My nephew, on the other hand, lived with his parents until he was 30.  He even moved with them more than 100 miles from his job and commuted to it from there for a year!  I think he was comfortable with them, but after he finally moved to an apartment, he likes it.  I hope that for your son, too.

  2. Thanks Lynn.  I needed to see a comment like this.  It gives me hope.

  3. reassure him you are still there when he needs...i think like you said he just needs to get there and he will be fine...but no i dont think you are pushing too hard....

  4. I'm struggling with the same thing, Happy Girl. We learned, during his senior year of high school, that our son has ADD. We've also learned that the maturity level of young adults with certain kinds of learning disabilities often lags several years behind  those of their peers. If we were to kick our 20 year old son out of the house right now, it would be like putting a 15 year old out on the streets. He's just not ready for that yet. And it would be cruel.

    We're working with a therapist to help him work toward independence. In the meantime, we're trying to love the son God gave us, not the one on the pages of glossy parenting magazines. It takes a lot of patience and wisdom, (which I don't always have) and I'm sure some people question whether or not we're enabling him. It's a fine line, sometimes. I think there's a lot of wisdom evident in the chapter on love in the 1 Corinthians. It begins by reminding us that love is patient. I think that's what is listed first because its the hardest. And the most important.

  5. My first two left right after high school, going out of state for college.  My youngest was a bit slower, but still didn't hang around too awfully long. Each one is different I guess.

  6. I am totally impressed he has a house - and, apparently, a job to make a mortgage payment. I have a cartoon image in my head that I've had since I started blogging - and your post just nails it - there's 2 scenes: 1) a baby bird trying to get out of the nest before he's ready - and mama bird trying to keep him in until he is ready, and 2) a baby bird ready to fly - he's looking over the side and his mom is looking over the side, too - her wing fingers are on his back getting ready to push him out - LOL. Maybe if you went over and cooked him dinner, made sure the towels were hung your way, the blankets in all the right places - and made it feel like home - and then left him there - that might work. I'm not saying do this all the time - just an initial act (I'd even light candles to make it smell like home). Best of luck - I can't wait to hear the results!

  7. all 3 of our birds were ready to leave, so i can't really identify with you. however i admire what you've been doing with him and wanted you to know that. hang in there, parenting is a tough tough thing.

  8. you can lead a horse to water....
    good luck!!   

  9. Every child and every situation is definitely unique. Even my three children are all different and the way we have raised one isn't the way we have or are raising the others. I do give you props for trying to get him out...I know too many people who's children, if you can call them that, don't move out and they're in their 30s...that's getting a bit crazy in my professional mom opinion. Have a great rest of your week Miss Happy :)

  10. I was one who couldn't wait to move out and be on my own.  College helped to prepare me for leaving the nest. Has he ever been on his own?  That may be the problem. Maybe time for an ultimatum.....

  11. He has lived on his own before, but only for about 8 months.  I know he can do it.  He just needs to take that first step.


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