A mom’s conundrum...

Last night--surprisingly--we heard from our oldest son, Tyler. Ty is loving the life of a college student, which is why I don’t overreact when he forgets to call or respond to my text messages. I’m trying to relax and let go...but it’s a challenge. Fortunately, he’s attending school only 45 minutes from home. Unfortunately, I promised him that we wouldn’t infringe on his freedom if he chose Furman. We’ve been upholding our end of the deal with no surprise campus visits or irrational demands for babysitting help on weekends.

But this weekend is Parents’ Weekend. HA! He has no choice! We’re spending Saturday on campus, with promises to feed him well off-campus.

So, being the loving mother I am, I ask him if he needs us to bring anything.

“No, I’m good. Except can you pick up a 24-pack of bottled water?”

Ummm...

No.

I can’t.

Well, of course I COULD, but you know I can’t.

Here’s the thing: even though I know my son is a smart, reasonable young man...and I know that water bottles are recyclable...I doubt that he will actually recycle them. I mean really, nothing against Ty--at home, he’s really a pretty good recycler. But we’ve all been 18, and 18-year-old college students possess other priorities than ensuring plastic bottles end up in the recycling container. I know he’s much more evolved than I was at 18 (thank god.) Still...I can’t make the purchase when we’ve just started this project. And I’m a little surprised that he would ask me.

Oh, wait...I never told Ty about the project! I fill him in, telling him to check out the blog and figure out how he can participate in the family project. His response is--underwhelming.

Of course, I want to pamper my away-from-home son. Cookies are baking as I type. But with Furman being a prototype for sustainability, as well as my commitment to eliminate--or at least significantly reduce--bottles and cans in our lives, I can’t provide the one thing my son requested. Ah, a mother’s guilt.

Our drinking water is good--in fact, it’s some of the best in the country. Now if only it were more--convenient. Portable.

How about using a travel mug? A non-disposable water bottle? A glass? What novel ideas.

The irony in this story is:

I just bought bottled water. On Monday.

I know, I know. I suck.

Did I mention that along with my family’s environmental experiment, Peter and I are also trying to recover the lost bodies of our youth? We’re trying to eat more healthfully, cook more, eat out less, generate less take-out trash, and exercise. He’s doing really well. He started the P90X workout last night, and he’s still standing today. I’m supposed to be exercising right now. Oh well.

Anyway, I’ve made an effort to visit local farms or farmers’ market for our eggs, meat, and produce, but some staples I needed from Publix. As I unloaded my cart full of yummy, healthy food, the adorably sweet Publix checkout lady asked if I would like the penny item.

Sure, I told her, searching for my debit card. I love the Publix penny items. Such good savings! Such excellent treats, never junk!

Yep, I went home with a 6-pack of bottled water for \$.01.

Damn.

I suppose I could fulfill 1/4 of Ty’s request and give him the accidentally-purchased bottles. I could make him swear that they won’t end up in the landfill.

The bottled water dilemma and the Diet Coke rehab leads to my next worry...all of those juice boxes we trash. What can I do to start eliminating those lovely little non-recyclable boxes of convenience without causing a coup among the small fry? How does a mom provide snacks and drinks for school parties or soccer games without contributing to the hole in the ozone?

I think I’d better go Google “juice boxes.”

And finally, for those of you wonderful friends who are worrying about my caffeine deprivation: I must confess to two glasses of the evil DC this a.m. Still can-free, though. I can't wait for the day I can tell you that I'm completely clean. I’m working on it...thanks for the ideas and support!

tagged under: Growing Green, Growing kids, Growing one day at a time