Teen Trip: Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder


Cole (my 17-year-old) and I sat on his bedroom floor last night packing his clothes for his two-week service trip that happens at the end of each Chicago Waldorf high school year. Actually, I packed while Cole tried once again to talk me into letting him hang a queen-size bed from his ceiling. He currently sleeps in a twin “sky bed” that his dad made him when he was 5.

sky bed

I’m pretty sure Joe didn’t intend for the “sky bed” to take Cole from 5 to 17, but Cole insists, ” I can’t be sure.”  The bed is still holding its own but is showing signs of old age as it creeks and whines when Cole climbs up the ladder. When I wake him up in the morning, his feet and arms are dangling off the bed. I have offered Cole the room upstairs, which is about three times the size of his room, and includes a  bathroom and queen-size bed. However, Cole isn’t big on change and insists he loves his room; it would be perfect if only—IF ONLY—I would let him build and hang a Queen size bed from the ceiling with chains and bolts. My vision of the whole ceiling crashing down on top of him doesn’t deter him. Mom’s are so dramatic. He even tried to turn the project into a “cool blog post, your readers would love it.”  Which part would you love the best…the building, hanging or crashing down?” When he comes home he plans to ask his uncle, the architect, opinion. Conversation to be continued…

People ask me if I miss Cole while he is away on these trips. Not really. OK, I miss him, but not so much the first week. Here is what I’m looking forward to while he is gone.

1) A full night’s sleep: 

Cole comes home after I’m long asleep in bed.

Cole (whispering): Mom, are you awake?

Kb (also whispering): I hope not.

Cole (still whispering): I have a good idea.

Kb (suppressing a groan and wonders why we are whispering nobody is sleeping): Tonight? Now? Snore…

Cole (never deterred by the time): You know how I was thinking about where I could build the car this summer for my project? Well, maybe we could take down the fence in back where the carport is and I could put up a chain-link fence, put the car on the concrete slab and work on it there. Do you think that would work?

Kb (hiding under a pillow): Let’s think about it.

Cole flips on the light, relocates all the pups on my bed, steals my top pillow to put behind him and launches into his good idea.

2) Access to the bathroom: Between 10 p.m.– 12 midnight

Here’s Cole’s usual late-night hygiene routine.

Shower: 1 hour
Hair: 30 minutes
Teeth: 15 minutes
Face stuff: 15 minutes
Torturing mother: Endless

3) No reminders:

Kb: Cole, please let the pups out before you go to bed.
Cole: OK, can you remind me?
Kb: I was planning to go to bed.
Cole: Well, could set a reminder on your phone to remind me?

Kb: Cole, remember [such and such] after school.
Cole: OK, can you remind me?
Kb: I am reminding you.
Cole: No, after school.
Kb: Set your own reminder. Who is going to remind you of these kinds of things when you are in college?
Cole: Well, then you’ll be thinking, “Gosh, I wish Cole were around to remind about things.”

4) No mealtime madness:

Friday afternoon: Cole tells me we have nothing to eat. NOTHING to eat.

Saturday: I go to the store and buy about $70.00 worth of great stuff to eat and inform Cole the fridge is brimming over with food.

The rest of the weekend: Cole eats every meal out or with friends. When he comes home Sunday night, he begs to order a pizza for his very last meal before his two-week-long trip, and could we make a pie run too?

Cole is gone. Fridge is full. Can I interest you in a piece of baked chicken?

5) No parking instructions:

The teen I taught to parallel park my Honda van in Chicago rush hour traffic over and over again has decided my parking sucks.

Mom, There is a better parking spot over there. Mom, that parking spot is closer. Mom, I think you need to pull up. Mom, you are way too close to the curb. Mom, are you sure you want to leave the car like that? Mom, I think this is a bus/tow/snow zone. Mom, honk. We saw this spot first. Mom, did you put enough money in the parking meter?

After weeks of parking directions, I finally snapped and told Cole that if he didn’t stop with the parking instructions, I was going to smack him so hard he would be picked up in Wisconsin for speeding. He replied, “Well, you don’t have to be so defensive.”

Absence makes the heart grow fonder…isn’t that what they say?

This morning outside O’Hare Airport’s terminal two, Cole gave me a tight hug and looked at me for the usual goodbye, “Love you most, Coley Bear.” To which he replied, “Love you more.” Picking up his suitcase, he walked toward the airport door, looked back and waved before he disappeared inside. Yep, by the time he comes home I will be missing him like crazy—and all his good ideas, too.

Odd Loves Company!


22 thoughts on “Teen Trip: Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

  1. Cool sky bed. Amazing that Joe made it and it has held up so well. I imagine it has been climbed on and up a lot over the years.
    You seem to roll with the punches, I need to do more of that. My guy is only 10 so I have some time to watch and learn before we hit the teen years. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your two weeks.

    • Yep, Joe did make it for Cole’s 5th birthday. Keep in mind that he slept with us for the first 5 years of his life—it’s a long story, and rather ironic that he is so attached to the bed and idea of another sky bed.
      I think a lot of my rolling has to do with becoming a single parent very unexpectedly. I have no doubt your a wonderful Mom!

  2. Love it! Yet it breaks my heart…..because one day, that “good bye, I love you” is the last one, and you really never know when the last one is. No, it’s not really the LAST one but one does come along one day when they never live with you again. They move on, go to college, come back for a while, move on again… and then they stay out on their own. Then you look back and try to remember which “good bye” was the real one….when they took flight from the nest and soared on….and on. <3

  3. ha-ha! nothing like absence to recharge our batteries! i think that is a healthy ooccurrence in life. enjoy, cole will be home soon!

    • Me too. And I have plenty to eat and catch up while he gone…like researching the amount of weight a ceiling will hold! Home before I know it!

  4. Kb, this reminds me of Domer so much! The late-night chats in the dark, the dislike of change, the hygiene routine, even the squabbling over inconsequential stuff. Golly, I know you’re going to miss Cole because I am! Hope he has a safe trip and a wonderful one, and that he comes home soon to “terrorize” you the rest of the summer! By the way, you’ve outdone yourself on this post!

    • Our boys are something else. Yep, I’m looking forward to our summer which I am sure will be filled with all kinds of up and downs. Lots going on before school starts in September when it gets even busier. Thank you, it was a fun post to write!

  5. After reading Odd, I miss him already! COLE!!! COME BACK COLE!!! WE ALL MISS YOU COLE!!!!!! 🙄 🙁 8)

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