Barry Lewis: Adulthood milestones

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My oldest son has moved out.

I never thought I’d say that.

Seemed as improbable as saying, “I won the lottery” or “The Jets won the Super Bowl” or my Poppa Max is asking for mayo on his hot pastrami.

Actually I had my money on Poppa Max, but my son threw us a curve. Go figure.

As a parent I take great pride and even greater relief in knowing that our 29-year-old is ready to venture out on his own. It remains one of the great milestones of adulthood. A true sign of independence. A mark of maturity. And a significant drop in the number of trips I have to make to the market to get milk.

Sure, it’s taken a bit longer than I thought it would, give or take four or five years. Maybe, looking back, I was a bit impatient. Maybe I failed to appreciate how difficult it was for these eager millennials to get started with their lives. Or maybe I should have stopped providing food, water and premium cable. I accept the blame.

Now, when our son told us he was really moving out, I foolishly took that to mean he was moving out.

What was I thinking?

Probably the same thing you’d be thinking if one of your kids said they were moving out. Unless you, too, have experienced the “I’m moving out” statement, which really should include the qualifier — “kinda.”

To be fair, our son did move out. Unfortunately, he left most of his stuff behind. In my mind that kinda negates the whole moving-out thing. I always considered him and his stuff as part of a package deal — always traveling together.

What was once his bedroom has now become a pretty nice-looking storage facility, complete with curtains.

Now it’s possible he left his piles of clothes, some furniture and college dorm supplies as a living, breathing memorial to his days in our home. Something to remember him by. As if we could ever forget?

I subscribe to the more realistic theory he just doesn’t get the concept of moving out. After all, this is the same lad who failed to get the concept that putting dirty dishes on top of the dishwasher is not the same as putting them in the dishwasher, and piling clothes on the floor is not the same as putting them away.

The other cruel irony of our son moving out is that while he decided to leave much of his useless stuff back home — why clutter up his place? — he did take with him useful items of mine out of my home.

I went to grill the other day and it was then that I noticed my propane tank was gone. I soon found out it was being used at my son’s place. As was one of our television sets. Power tools. Lawnmower. Canned goods.

He even decided to take our broom and mop. I didn’t think he even knew where they were stored. I certainly know he’s never used either one before.

When we questioned him about it, he replied, matter-of-factly, that he wanted to keep his place clean.

I suggested he might want to work the kinks out of the broom by testing it on a surface that has never come in contact with a cleaning utensil. Like his bedroom. In our house.

And that while he was moving things around in his room, he might want to just move them out. To his place.

Guess you just can’t push these adulthood milestones.

Barry Lewis is the executive editor of the Times Herald-Record. Contact him at