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Oh, Grow Up.

October 25, 2008

When we were planning our move from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest, I had a few qualms about it. Apart from the fact that moving Ford F350 box truckis up there with some of the major stressors in ones life: divorce, death, etc., then there are the trials of sorting and packing one’s lifelong accumulated goodies and detritus; of trying not to excommunicate (and all the other ex words) one’s loved ones; and having to say goodbye to close friends, I found that the hardest for me was moving away from my youngest son, K.

He’s a young man in college, hardly requiring his mother’s presence, but I feel guilty moving away from him. After all, kids are supposed to leave home not their mothers. 

Strictly speaking, we had been living a few hours drive from each other for the past couple of years – K at school in Wisconsin, me in Illinois – but I was moving two thousand miles further away from him. And despite the fact that hitherto there had been a 100 or so miles separating us, we were able to meet once a week for lunch; a meeting I looked forward to, even though I had a fairly long drive.

Apart from the fact that K’s my son – and I’m very proud of him – it’s the conversations I’ve particularly looked forward to. He’s funny, smart and quite worldly. To be able to sit down at the table and discuss an array of topics, is something I’ve relished. There we were two adults sitting face to face listening, really listening to each other’s viewpoint. Yes, I have grown up somewhat in his eyes and can talk with him now as an “equal.” Hence the sadness I’ve been feeling; sadness about not seeing him on the same regular basis as before. But it’s time for me to really “grow up.”

It didn’t help my separation anxiety when, while packing, N discovered a videotape featuring some wedding footage. Perplexed as to whose nuptials they were (and therefore who the tape belonged to), he called me to view it and see if I knew the folk in question. I watched for a few minutes then realized it was the wedding of A, the babysitter my ex husband and I had hired on a daily basis years ago to look after K when he was about 4 years old.

A cute facsimile.

Boy toddler

At A’s wedding, K was the “ring boy,” the bearer of the bride and groom’s rings on a small pillow. I remembered the wedding well, where K looked like a little Mozart dressed in miniature tux with a mop of curly hair framing his sweet face. He hadn’t wanted to walk up the aisle alone, so I accompanied him before he dug his polished black shoes into the carpet in protest. Seeing images of K, including birthday celebrations, transported me back in time (eliciting the old cliché, “it seems just like yesterday”), to when this youngest of my children, filling up the screen with his cuteness, was a little boy. I cried.

I suspect that K’s not experiencing anything like I’m experiencing. While on the phone before our truck and car moving “caravan” had even pulled out of the driveway, I told K that I was already missing him. “Aw, Mom,” was his response when he might have really wanted to say, “Oh, grow up.”

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