Sunday, September 10, 2023

Leaving the Nest

The day had finally arrived - when Jeremy left us to go off to college. We had been preparing for this day since we read him his first board book.  But there were still mixed feelings as our last child left the nest. I was excited to witness this move towards independence and exploration, but I was going to miss him. I hoped that we had prepared him to live a sustainable lifestyle on his own.

As the departure date grew closer, we started gathering what he would need for his first apartment. Jeremy drafted a list and I kept adding to it. I was pleased to see that he included vinegar in the cleaning supplies section (instead of some poisonous chemical cleaner.) I added baking soda to the list. I figured out what utensils he would need to make his favorite vegetarian foods and went through our cupboards in search of them. I started stacking them - along with our extra pots and pans, silverware, etc - on the dining room table. 

In addition to the usual household items, I gathered what he would need to continue our reduced plastic life-style. Just because he was going off to college, there was no need for him to resort to single-use plastic convenience items. I grabbed some sturdy reusable cloth grocery bags and filled them with reusable produce bags and bulk bags. I figured they wouldn't go to waste, since Jeremy was already accustomed to using them. 

I also included some reusable takeout containers that Jeremy had gotten in the habit of bringing for his leftovers when he ate out. 

I have to admit that I was a little concerned because Jeremy hadn't really cooked much. Cereal, PB&J sandwiches and quesadillas - that was pretty much it. He usually ate what I prepared or the left-overs from eating out with his dad. He didn't even heat up his leftovers! I had shown him how to make a few of his favorite dishes like roux for scalloped potatoes. I hoped he was paying attention. And he knows how to make our style of enchiladas since we compile them together as a family. As it got closer to the departure date, Jeremy started asking how to make some of our vegetarian staples - like veggie broth from kitchen scraps (onions, celery and carrots are the basics) and marinara sauce. I even tested the mini crockpot to make sure it worked so he could use it to make beans. (I reminded him that they would need to be soaked overnight.)  

I was surprised when Jeremy asked me for cloth scraps for cleaning. That's my boy! I cut up some old tee-shirts for him and they went into the bag. 

Since he left, we have chatted on the phone a few times. He told me about all the dishes he made. He hasn't eaten out once! One time he messaged me about how to make spinach dip. (He remembered how to make the roux! He WAS paying attention!) He's even posted pics of his creations on social media - like some burnt spaghetti from a technique he learned online. I think he's gonna be alright. 

This weekend he came home for the first time since he went off to college. You guessed it! He brought home his laundry! lol 

He wanted to use our washing machine because the water goes into our greywater basin to nourish the fruit trees! 

I couldn't be prouder. 

Jeremy will be coming home next week to join me in performing environmental stories at the ¡Agua es Vida! Celebration of Water in the Desert and Short Film Showcase at Watershed Management Group! Looks like I could be prouder...

More stories about Jeremy's journey: 

Reduced Waste Road Trip

Engaging the Next Generation

Teachable moment for the boys

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing journey you've shared, absolutely amazing! Enjoy college and I'm looking forward to reading more about your family's life!, I want to learn how to make roux.