Borrowed Time

My son and I usually get along quite well.  He’s 23-1/2,  he’s lived in the dorm with no rules, he’s graduated from college and hasn’t found a full time job, though he’s had the same part-time job for about 4 years, and he’s still living at home!  He understands that he either has to move with us, which he says he isn’t doing, either find a way to live working part-time or get a full-time job and earn enough to support himself (anyone know of a job that pays about $500K for a fresh out of college graduate with a degree in political science?), or he has to learn to live like the rest of us who know there’s a limit to how much we can spend and try to keep a bit of money set aside for a rainy day but . . so much for the discussion Chad and I have three times a day!

Chad and tires have always had very short time relationships.  Those tires lasted 8 months because of this.

I never go anywhere that I don’t glance at my tires.  I don’t go out and kick them and check the air with a gauge but I just glance at them as I walk by the car and make sure they’re ok.  Chad, even with his tire history, never ever looks at his tires.  Last night about 11:00 I walked out to put something in the trash and his front right tire was almost flat.  He hadn’t been in long from a trip to the lake.  I said “Chad, wherever you’re going in the morning, don’t wait til the last minute because your tire may be flat.”  He went out and tried to fill it with air but the air compressor wasn’t holding pressure so he went down to the store and filled the tire with air and when he got home, you could hear it  hissing and losing air.  By then it was 11:30 and he decided to change the tire!  It was still hotter than heck outside, he was under the truck banging around trying to get the spare off.  Of course it was dark!  He decided he didn’t have all the “things” he needed to change a tire, couldn’t get the lug nuts off and I don’t know what else.  I’m thinking . . you’ve had that truck 10 months and you’re just now checking to see if you have all the tools needed to change a tire? but that was not the time for a lecture.    I tried explaining to him that he should bring the truck into the garage and hope that it would still have enough air in the morning (it does) that he could drive it to Wal-Mart to get them to fix the tire, then he could figure out if he has all the tools needed to change a tire but midnight was not the time to be messing with it since he doesn’t have to be at work today til about noon.  He wasn’t happy with me but I understand he was aggravated with the leaking tire and it made much more sense to him to yell at me instead of yelling a tire.  Even if the tire was completely flat this morning, it would have been better to change the tire in the daylight when it was cooler!  NOT what he wanted to do!

It’s hard living with an adult kid who’s been on his own (as in having no rules) — even if it was a dorm and mom was still paying the bills.  It’s just as hard for a mom to deal with the attitude, knowing we’re all having to suck it up a bit and get through rough spots.  In the end . . Vince and I will find a house and get moved and this time next year, all that we’re going through will be no big deal, hardly even remembered.  In an hour or so, Chad will have his tire fixed . . so there’s no reason to argue and fuss when things go wrong.  We all have issues to deal with and what we’re facing is small — very small — considering what some folks are going through.

Through the years I’ve learned that you can tell a whole lot about people by how they deal with issues.  Some people fall apart over the smallest things.  Yes, I get upset and angry over small things sometimes, and then I feel kind of small for allowing trivial matters to upset me and rob me of even a moment’s pleasure.  I believe how we deal with life’s trials, the big ones and the small ones, shows a lot about us — about our maturity level, our faith, our outlook on life.

Flat tire on the pickup or not . . Vince comes home today for a long weekend so for the next few days, the stress of the move will be shared, the grass in the garden can be cut so the red tag guy will be happy with us and if I’m lucky, Chad will still be frustrated enough with me that he will go out and look for his own place to live!  🙂



  1. 1


    Amen and AMEN!
    MY 23 yr old just lost her (part time) job she has had for the last 4 years….she has been humbled just a bit but that isn’t what I want….I want her to get a good paying job and support herself. These life lessons are so difficult!

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    We also have a college graduate living home though she does have a full time job in her field (physical therapist). And she also is 23 1/2 years old. She would like to move out but money is tight since she just graduated and has a boat load of debt. Yes she is use to being independent. My problem is I would like to be told a little in advance when she won’t be home for supper….Trivial I know but ….. At least the stress is off for now as she took her state boards on Wed. (just waiting for the results). Sorry for the rant….but I know where you are coming from!

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    WHEW…….growing up is challenging for sure!!!

    Ten years from now you will laugh about all of this……or better still you will giggle when Chad’s children are calling him for tires!!!

    Glad Vince is coming home!
    sao in Midlothian, VA

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    I need to add that I do appreciate this time with her as her elder sister graduated from college, got married 3 weeks later and moved 5 hours away. This is truly a gift of time to have with her.

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    This raising children, however old they are, is a life-time job. Because as soon as your children leave home the grandchildren come visiting with a whole new set of ideas that drive you crackers!

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    “You will live through it, you will just not look the same.” All the advice I can give you – been there and glad son and I both lived through it. Happy Weekend and glad Vince can share the frustration with you. Judy C in NC

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    Deborah says

    I feel your pain and agree wholeheartedly with your observations! We have one daughter in university who still comes home in the summer for work–always an adjustment when they are used to being on their own. Another daughter (24) lived at home for just over a year after completing her university degree. She always had a least one full time job so we saw little of her and now she is in Africa for a year. I should have know when she got her degree in international development that she wouldn’t be spending a lot of time in North America!

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    I think sometimes the 20’s are harder to parent than the terrible two’s, since their problems are ones you can’t solve so easily. Time usually fixes these things (like waiting til morning to deal with the tire), but it’s hard to sit and wait for time to work. I wish you well with a smooth move (once you find a house!) But, gimmenie I’d have Chad mow that lawn if he wants a roof over his head. Political science degree or not, that grass doesn’t care, and he can “earn” his keep and be useful. Feeling of genuine use may help him have the self-confidence he needs to find a real job too.

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    Ask Chad to mow the grass to keep the red tag man at bay. Good luck for him finding a full-time job.
    What does one do with a political science degree? My SIL has one, but she put it towards her Law degree.

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    hee hee hee. having children is like being pecked to death by a duck… my son is 20 and living, probably temporarily, with friends and paying rent. he could be living at home for free, but he just has to have that ‘no rules’ thing you know. he’s going to college and working part time but doesn’t really make enough to support himself. dad and i help with gas and groceries and oil changes on the car. if he insists on living on his own he can pay his own rent, though. i do like having the house to ourselves, but i won’t say i don’t miss him and his sister. i think the boy will be back home before the year is over, just because i can’t see him being able to afford to stay there for very long!

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    Pat in Washington says

    What a great attitude you have! It’s much better for your blood pressure and your mental health if you can pick and choose your battles, the way you obviously do. When I was a kid, going on family vacations, and we would JUST MISS the ferry boat to the summer cabin, my dad would always say “oh well, we’re first in line for the next one” and I have tried to keep that idea with me.

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    When mine graduated, they were given notice they would have 2 weeks of “vacation” then they either had to move out on their own or start paying room and board with the understanding that the rate would increase every 3 months and “at will,” depending upon their decreased desire to follow rules or perform chores. When they complained, I reminded them that they were now adults and this was how the real world works….nothing is free and we all have to support ourselves… worked….all 3 are responsible, self-supporting adults with families…some little birds just need a bigger push from the nest than others…grin

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    I think those little ‘issues’ is God’s way of getting them and us ready for them to be on their own! Many times I have lost sight of the fact that I’m raising them to be ADULTS, not to be big kids that need me all the time. I still struggle with that. We have one adult son who has health problems. LETTING him move out was the hardest thing I have ever done. He and a friend rent a house from us, but there is not any preference given. They have to pay just like a regular renter. The one kid I would WANT back is active duty AF and about to deploy for 6 months. She is the most independent woman I know. Don’t think she will move back home any time soon…DRAT!

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    I love this conversation! My 23 year old grandson, gainfully employed and making way more money than my retirement pays me, lives at home. My daughter loves it. I think they’re both crazy. 🙂 blessings, marlene

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    Katherine says

    I like Patty’s idea. I would probably give them a little longer before rent starts, especially if they have something lined up. But increasing the rent every 3 months sounds like an idea to remember.

    I came home after college for 6 weeks, rent free, but I had a full time job lined up and spent part of that time clearing EVERYTHING out of my room.

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    Cindy in NC says

    Our two oldest graduated during prosperous times and had no trouble finding good jobs right away. Neither lived at home. One was married within a month. The other was on a plane just hours after graduation and on her way to her new job in another state. Times were harder for our third, so we let her live at home rent-free for three months. She did, however, have to do chores. After three months both room and board and chores were required. I think she was more motivated to move out to escape the chores than the rent! I struggle with the “fairness to the others” issue when deciding whether or not to help an adult child. My generation of the family is filled with people who received so much help (my husband calls it “destructive sympathy”) from parents that they can’t function as adults. The only thing less attractive than a teenager is a middle-aged teenager. That being said, I do feel sorry for young people entering the workforce in these economic times. I’m hoping things turn around before our fourth graduates. We like having the house to ourselves!

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    Linda Kay says

    My 4th son is a soon to be junior in college, 19 and living at home. He is attending a college that is only 45 minutes away from home. The first semester he lived there. Discovered he didn’t like cooking for himself and bringing home laundry on the week-ends was a hassle, so he moved back home. I love having my baby boy at home BUT can’t wait for him to graduate, get a really good paying job and get his own home! haha

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    Shelley C says

    I have six grown kids Judy, and it takes them living on their own for a while to really appreciate how easy they had it while we helped them over the bumps…My kids are all pretty self sufficient and come home for weekends…one, still in school comes for the summer. We help keep their cupboards filled with food; help with taxes and car repairs and insurances….little surprises like that. Once Chad is in his own place having rent to pay and other regular expenses, life become reality. I’m sure he will survive fine…you taught him well; he’ll budget and manage his affairs and only ask for help if he has to…and he’ll be thrilled when he doesn’t have to and you gift him with a new set of tires just because! He’ll see the love that has been acted out for his entire life and he’ll really appreciate his great upbringing and family. It’s coming Judy…wait for it, it is coming 🙂

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    pdudgeon says

    it hasn’t been suggested yet, but if Chad isn’t going to law school in the Fall, then you might seriously consider having him enlist in the Navy. I did that when i was away from home and on my own. at the time it was during the first recession–just like times are now– and having a secure job, food, a place to sleep, friends, and clothes all guaranteed for 4 years looked mighty good. My parents were thrilled!
    As for growing up and becomming independent–boot camp guarantees it! I was the same age that Chad is now when i went in, and it was absolutely the best thing i ever did for myself.
    if he serves the 4 years, he’ll be in a lot better position when he gets out than he is in now. he’ll have job experience, be more mature and sure of himself, and he’ll have the money for more college. working 4 more years at Wal-mart is a dead-end job, and doesn’t even compare as far as benefits are concerned.
    he may never have thought of this before (and you might not have thought of it either) but in these times he will need to have something to count on besides his mom. As good as you are to him and as much as you’d love to have him around always, the Navy has more resources and offers a better future for him than he has mapped out for himself.
    think about it.

    • 19.1

      Linda in NE says

      My nephew’s in the Navy…made it his career and is looking at his twenty in about 3 or 4 years. He’s done well, seen some of the world, has a nice family and may stay in longer. If he decides to retire when his current enlistment is up he will still be young enough to start a new career. It can be a good life.

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    Linda in NE says

    Part of growing up is learning to handle all those little details of life that Mom & Dad always took care of. Sometimes that’s harder for kids to learn than the big things like a job and a place to live. But they eventually learn to manage it all and Chad will too, even faster once you and Vince are “gone to Texas” and it’s all up to him. You’ll worry and he’ll complain, but it will happen.

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    Cindy in NC says

    Judy, I’d like to echo the suggestions about the military. Our son-in-law just left the Army after nearly 10 years as a helicopter pilot. He is now in MBA school on the GI Bill, and he and my daughter were able to save enough during his three deployments (yes, that’s the downside to the military) to cover their living expenses in the event that she cannot get another job. His brother had no money for law school after college, so he also joined the Army as a way of reaching that goal. My husband has taught at various universities for over 30 years and has always said his best students were older women returning to school and ex-military because their life experiences made them take school seriously. I hope Chad considers this. If he’s like my kids, he’ll take the suggestions of others (including total strangers!) but not of his parents.

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    Carolyn Thomas says

    Amen on the Military suggestion. I was 19 when I joined the Army and 23 when I got out. I had more experience by the time I was 23 than all the kids that my children have grown up with. (Most of them are pushing 30 and still don’t have permanent or full time jobs.)

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    Lorraine says

    Could be worse! Wait until they are gone, start a family and the family falls apart and they come back, WITH children!! I had an empty nest, then dd came back home with her 6mo twin boys. That was 6.5 years ago!! I do have to say, she is a good mom and is great about helping out. Even with rambunctious boys around, I remind myself I would rather have them here than in an abusive household.

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    Mine is 19 and home for his summer after starting college. We are new to this, so it was good to read that we’re not alone.

    We just dropped $890 on his car, and barely got a “Thank You”. It’s not that he didn’t appreciate it, it’s just that for 9 months he didn’t have to thank us, or anybody for that matter. He was pretty independent.

    That, however was easier than when he told me this evening that he didn’t have to do the dishes, because he ALWAYS did the dishes in his dorm, and he was now on summer break!! I almost lost it. He immediately said he was kidding, but I didn’t find it too Funny!!

    Good Luck and God Bless and Thanks for Sharing,

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    Sara in AL says

    My DS thought that he should take over Microsoft when he graduated from HS. He did not need to go on to more school. A friend once told me about a class she had taken, the professor said that Eagles feather their nests with briars when they want the babies to learn to fly. We have to do that too, otherwise they don’t learn to fly and are always dependent on us. DS lived with friends (sharing rent) until he couldn’t stand it anymore and moved home. Slept till noon or later, stayed on the computer playing games, did chores when he had to; until I got smart. DH wouldn’t kick him in the tocas, so Mom had to. I told him that he had until 2 weeks after his birthday to either have a job or be enrolled in school. “Or what?” he says. Or I will drive you to the homeless shelter X number of miles away and you will be homeless. “Why so far away?” he asks. Because you are too lazy to walk back here! He found a job and moved out, and now is married and behaving responsibily. He even once said to me “Mom, you were right about so many things, thanks.” Still makes me cry!

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    I feel your pain my son is twenty, lost his part time job, and is waiting for someone to give him a job, and keeps telling me he is planning to continue junior college but has yet to re-register. He does do things around the house, but I wish he would get bitten by the reality bug and find a job part time or other wise and at least chose a path to follow. Don’t get me wrong he’s a good kid I just hope he finds a direction soon.

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    Karen says

    Oh Judy, I feel your pain. I went thru similar situations with both children. Fortunately we weren’t dealing with this economy and scarcity of jobs. They had jobs, just figured they should be able to live at home, do nothing to help and spend all their money. It was amazing how fast things moved when we told them they had 2 choices, pay us rent or pay it to someone else. It took them no time at all to move out on their own.