By Lori Griffith
From the moment Jake was born I experienced such immense love for him and could never fathom being separated. What I didn't realize was someday the teen years would hit like a tsunami and as he drove off for college I would crack open a bottle of champagne and do the Happy Dance. Who knew after college and being on his own that he would suffer a traumatic accident and need to move home to recuperate. I didn't blink an eye at this. Home is where he belonged and where he would get the best love, support, and care. Goodbye privacy.
Being a single mother, handling the roles of mother and father since Jake was 3 years old, we have a pretty tight, but often confrontational relationship. I have always been extremely independent and instilled that in Jake - many times against his will. With his coming home (along with his pit bull Sox who I also adore), he knew that home is always a place he can safely land, but the goal is to heal and head back out into the world. While I would love to shield him forever, I am a realist and know the best thing sometimes is the hardest thing and I knew I was going to have to push him - even if it hurt.
Nine months into his rehabilitation it was time to start pushing hard. He was becoming too comfortable with me cooking, cleaning and paying all of the bills. I was starting to resent his lack of motivation and the ease with which he just assumed I would do it all. It's one thing to do this for a child, but he was now a man and needed to start acting like one. It's funny how we can easily manage everything in our lives, but when we walk through mom's door, we become little kids again - right down to not making the bed or taking out the trash.
Still the greatest love of my life and the best thing that ever happened to me, I was longing for my privacy. A year later, I knew Jake was ready to fly solo again (although he'll vehemently disagree), but was showing no signs of ever leaving. I had to no choice. I did what every mother would do - I sold the house and moved to the beach - alone! Ultimately this was the best thing I ever did for Jake, although he laughs now and says if I were an animal I would be the kind to eat their young.
We both crack the champagne and do the happy dance now, just in separate residences.