What my Son’s Sandwich Delivery Taught me About Letting Go

A son’s decision to starts a business enabled a mother to learn some lessons -about love, children, choices and letting go. 

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‘He wanted a part-time job. He started asking around. He told us about this specialty sandwich place that was hiring delivery people.I didn’t like the idea.’ (Photo: Reuters) 

In America, it’s a rite of passage. The kid turns sixteen, he gets a driver’s license and his parents buy him a car.

They make the monthly payments and they tell their child that he should get a part-time job to pay for the gas. We watched our neighbors and friends do it and their kids loved it.

Most of these part-time jobs were at the mall in clothing stores like Express, Gap and American Eagle. Or at fast food places like McDonald’s, Burger King and Pizza Hut.

The parents liked the responsibility factor and the kids liked the independence and money.

Breaking with Tradition

But when it was our turn, we broke with tradition and asked our son Joshua Karan to just study hard, get good grades and get into a good college.

But a few months ago, after he turned eighteen and got accepted to college, he began to get restless.

He wanted a part-time job. He started asking around. He told us about this specialty sandwich place that was hiring delivery people.

I didn’t like the idea.

“That’s so dangerous, what if someone drags you into the house and robs you. They could beat you up or kill you,” I tell him.

My son rolls his eyes:

“Yes Mom, because people regularly do that on Wednesdays. Let’s order sandwiches and murder the delivery person because there is nothing on TV tonight,” he said.

I throw a cushion at him, he ducks.

He takes the job and he is out of the house for a few evenings a week.

The first evening went by agonizingly slow. I kept picturing him, looking up addresses on his iPhone and driving to deal with strangers. How will they treat him? Will it be hard?

My mind jumped from one probability to the next. He could have an accident or have an unpleasant incident. I jumped at the sound of the doorbell. I flinched at the piercing sound of every police car or ambulance. I watched my phone anxiously. I fought to stay calm.

Letting Go

During those hours I learnt a few lessons fast: You raised your child and now he’s out in the world. You have to trust that he will be safe. You have to let go. He has to have all these experiences. You have to believe he will be fine.

After all, you raised him to make the right choices.

Eight weeks later, just when I thought I was managing well, my son tells me one evening that he is resigning because he doesn’t want to do it anymore.

I turn away from him and bite my lower lip to keep from breaking out in a big smile. But my son notices anyway.

“I saw that, Mom.”

This time, he throws the cushion at me. I duck.

“You missed,” I tell him.

For some reason, we think this is hilarious and we laugh, loudly and happily.

Sonia Chopra is a freelance journalist based in the US.

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