I’m stalking my son.
I’m trolling his Facebook groups; shadowing his college email account; checking his upcoming schedules and syllabi.
He caught me this weekend.
“Oh my God!” he cried. “Are you on my Facebook page?”
“Yes,” I whispered, before coughing up my rationalizations.
“I’m just making sure you don’t miss anything! I’m making sure you know where to be!”
And when those arguments didn’t work?
“Daddy and I are paying for this.”
Oh, dear. Apparently I’ve become one of those mothers whose clawed fingers will have to be wrenched from her son’s college-bound shoulders.
He leaves in two weeks. I’ve baked 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies to leave as a surprise for him. I’ve packed up four boxes of Cheez-Its and two bags of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Kit Kat Bars. (“Go make some friends,” my accompanying note says.)
My husband can barely contain himself.
“You know,” he said the other night. “When I went to college, my parents put me on a train and said good luck.”
“How sad for you,” I snapped.
But he has a point.
I never helicoptered my child. I let him experience hardships; I let him fail. I didn’t call up principals when he didn’t receive end-of-quarter or end-of-year awards. I tried to soften blows and counsel him through tough times. Then, I tried to step back and let him take the full credit he deserved for his many accomplishments and honors.
Yet here I am, reading his news feed.
Ay, yi, yi.
There must be a better way: A balance between “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” and “Mommy will make it all better.”
For now, we’ve hit on a compromise. He will check his Facebook groups and college email daily; his father and I will have access to his bursar’s account and grade postings. I will not log into his Facebook or Instagram accounts, but I will be his “friend” so I see what he’s posting. (Of course, he will not “follow” me … no need for his other friends to see his mother’s ramblings …)
I’ll breathe. Loosen my fingers. Applaud his progress as he skitters out of our household nest.
And always have a stash of chocolate chip cookies handy.
Leaving The Nest Chocolate Chip Cookies
This is a mash-up of my mother’s chocolate chip cookies and a recipe from Barbara Fairchild’s “The Bon Appetit Cookbook.” Eat them plain, or stuff them with ice cream, like we did for a recent celebratory dinner.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, soda and salt. Set aside.
Place the butter, shortening and both sugars in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer. Beat until creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 or so seconds after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
With the mixer on slow, add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Pour in the chocolate chips and mix until they’re well-distributed.
Using a quarter cup, scoop balls of dough onto your cookie sheets. Gently press down to slightly flatten their spherical shape. Bake for 15 minutes.
Serve immediately or pack up and freeze for your favorite college student.