My wife warned me, but I didn't believe her.

She told me that once my son, Alek, got his driver's license and wheels, we would never see him.

I thought, no, he'll still be around. He's not one to just take off and be gone all day.

I should have known better.

If I want to talk to him in the brief time he is home to eat and sleep and eat again, I feel like I need to have a prepared list of items I need to ask him or talk to him about.

Now that baseball season is over, he is trying to squeeze an entire summer of leisure into a few weeks.

He's doing a great job.

There are days when he wakes up while I'm at work, takes off to see his friends, stops in briefly for supper and then is gone until after I have gone to bed.

The only reason I know he comes home at night is because I hear the refrigerator door open, the microwave ding and then he tromps downstairs to the comforts of his Xbox.

He does spend some time at home, but only when he invites his friends over for swimming or more Xbox.

My wife said there was time last week when she didn't see him for two days. I'm not sure she missed a whole lot. It's not like he sits down to talk about his day. Heck, he lives in such a whirlwind he probably doesn't remember what he does.

He is a social child who hates to be pinned down. Slowing down is boring to him, and he constantly has to be surrounded by friends.

That is the exact opposite of his sister, Claire, who does not mind alone time, and in fact, seeks it out. She has no trouble curling up with a book or just being by herself.

To Alek, alone time is Xbox, which allows him to converse with friends while playing.

He is the child who, when he was younger, was bored 10 minutes after summer vacation started if he didn't have someone to play with.

I know I should have learned my lesson by now and trust my wife's instincts, but I am hoping once school starts his routine will include more time at home.

My wife says he will still be gone a lot.

In the past, Alek was a homebody during the week, but come Friday night once the school bell rings, he is a ghost. He is home just long enough to warm something up in the microwave or grab something quick and eat it on his way out the door.

I guess we'll see in a couple weeks whether my wife's prediction will ring true.

I can understand his desire to be on the move. It's been a long time, but I remember not wanting to be tied down to my home.

It's always more exciting at someone else's house. Maybe they have better snacks or a better TV or the latest game. It doesn't matter when you are a kid, just being out and free is what matters.

This is the time to enjoy that freedom. As much as I would like him to stop once in a awhile to fill me in on what's going on his life, I know he needs to roam.

Soon enough he'll have demands on his time, and just getting up and going won't be an option. He and his friends will have more responsibilities and getting together will have to take a backseat.

So Alek can enjoy his freedom, and I know as long as the refrigerator is full, he'll find his way home eventually.

Patrick Murphy, of Columbus, Neb., is the former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.