Of Sons

Last June, my son was on his way out of the house.  I was gently pushing him to be on his own, even though it went against every single thing I felt in my soul, and he was growing up – completely.  It was hard.  Did mama birds feel like this when they sent their babies to fly the first time?  Waves of nostalgia like great breakers hit me and I had to fight tears with every bit of my inner strength.  My dreams, and waking thoughts were of him as a baby, a toddler, a grade-schooler, and so on.  I wished sometimes that I could have a day or two back at each age with him.  A week tops.  At least for 6 months old, and two, and four…

Now, I saw a man in front of me.  A man that had grown inside me, and grew up way too quickly.  He now had a girlfriend with a ring on her left hand.  Marriage wasn’t far off.  And with that, grand babies – possibly?  ‘How is that possible,” I thought.  I sat down on the edge of my white canvas covered couch and drank straight from the Patron XO Café bottle.  A nice, long swig, like a sailor, or cowboy, not that of a middle-aged, artist mom.  I sighed, and blew a stray hair from my eyes.  ‘Life is sweet in all its stages,’ I repeated to myself, as I rose to walk to the kitchen calendar to see when my next therapy appointment was.

I used to take him to the pool, and the water park, and the regular park.  I used to to give my 2 cents on science projects and serve on the fucking PTA (and I was good at it).  I sat for endless hours at martial arts practice and at tournaments, football games, and lived for our late night talks.  I held him after bad dreams and let him snuggle up into bed with me when he was a little boy, and I rubbed his back when the girlfriend he desperately loved called it quits.

He’s so independent now, has a great job, and a fiancee  I’m so proud of him, and happy for him, but I miss him desperately.  There are moments I want that little boy back, but most of the time I know I’ve done my job well, and settle in with a cocktail.  When you love your child, it takes time to adjust.

It is too easy to get lost in being a parent to let your child break free, and it takes super powers to let go.  It hasn’t been easy for me, but I’ve transitioned to mom-friend of an adult.

You overwhelm me, and you also confound me with your differences from me. I expected a child that loved roller coasters and scary movies and adrenaline. But it turned out that the only things we shared were a love of books, movies, water, and white water rafting. Oh, and each other, of course. You were a totally different being from me.  I was astounded and amazed at who you were. I loved that you were different from me, but I also secretly wished that you were more like me. You were your own person from the very beginning.  The first picture of you I have is with your sweet baby hand resting on your cheek, middle finger in the air.  Maybe you are more like me than I realize.

You were a boy.  Something unfamiliar to me. I had wished for girl, but God knew exactly what I needed.  A girl would have been a fucking mess for me.  I hadn’t learned how to parent from my parents, so I learned to do the exact opposite of them.

You were all boy, and I learned to love dump trucks, and backhoes, and dirt, and outside.   There was no denying it.  I had to learn who you were.  You loved swimming, and learned early.  We spent days at the pool, and nights eating snow cones or ice cream, watching Star Wars movies, or playing Power Rangers or Pokemon.

Now, you work 50 hours a week for a large company, live with a woman you love and take care of; you have a dog, and bills, and life that you are handling with skill and grace.  I’m proud. And I wish you nothing but the best.

So, here I am, working out who I am now that I’m not your “mom” – who I am as ‘just me’ again.  It’s been a long time.  I’m trying on new things, and old things, and looking at old photo albums.  I remember.  And I write, and paint.  I am excited for you, and for me – I can’t wait to see who we become as we go through the years.  This song makes me think of you.

“Love Has Come For You” – Steve Martin and Edie Brickell

She had a child by that man from the bank
He was married with a son
All of her family said give that child away
Try to erase what you done

But when she held that sweet boy in her arms
None of their words meant a thing
And when she held that sweet boy in her arms
She heard the quiet angels sing

Love, love, love has come for you
Love, love, love has come for you

He grew up strong with a heart full of dreams
And a good mind to make them come true
He never gave her a day’s worth of grief
She lit up when he came into the room

Love, love, love has come for you
Love, love, love has come for you

And she believed till the day that she died
He was given from heaven on high
And on that day he was right there by her side
When she heard the angels one more time

Love, love, love has come for you
Love, love, love has come for you

 

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