Of Boys and Branches
My heart grew today. I know it.
I was so completely aware of how amazing my son is.
For me, the measure of my success as a mother is the fact that he not only wants to spend time with me – but that he’s such a pleasure to be around.
We laughed so much, we always do – we waxed philosophical and we worked side by side.
He took me along to feed and water his girlfriend’s horses – with care and diligence for the animals and the task.
While there, he showed me his ‘fort’, which was actually an amazing puzzle of branches in the most photogenic wooden criss-cross of brush.
“Put your foot there – the other one there … sit here, on the trunk. Lay back, look up. Isn’t the sky beautiful through the branches?”
When did he become such a good driver?? I found myself not watching the road.
We spoke while he drove … of the moon, whether sperm have souls, road rules and safe sex.
“I want to teach you what I can before my time runs out – before you stop needing me.”
“I still need to learn how to ‘adult'”
My thought pattern stuttered and tripped over itself. The sentiment behind those words wasn’t lost on me. I was still needed. I recovered with a “Me too.”
We’ve become this team – unbreakable.
On one of the drives home I made a distracted sound.
“Having so many thoughts right now, I couldn’t even pin one down for you under my thumb to look at – not even by a wing.”
“I’m definitely growing up weirder than most …”
“That’s a good thing – don’t let your weird go.”
I drove away from the event center last night where my son had just graduated, alone.
I had a Gwen Stefani CD in the CD player and I felt a shift as the coin of acceptance dropped and I belted out “Ain’t no Hollaback Girl” along with Gwen.
Everything felt just … right.
Nic left the event with his girlfriend, my parents left together and I left with a smile on my face.
I have been so scared of the rapid changes in the dynamics of my relationship with Nic this past year! I needn’t have been.
Here I was worrying about where I would fit in his life. Here (Literally right here) I was worrying whether or not I’d done enough for him – done the right things by him.
Then, in the parking lot right after graduation, he picked my mom up in a hug and then shook my dads hand, and POOF! The worry dissipated.
I mentally dusted my hands with a ‘well, that’s-that then’ resolve, and a peace settled in.
It was sort of like hearing your little one say “thank you” without being prompted for the first time, or seeing them hold the door open for someone (Okay, I still feel a surge of pride when he does those things.)
In a single moment, I glimpsed Nic, the young man, and I was simultaneously proud of him and awash with an odd sensation of freedom. Freedom from worry.
When I got home, (after uploading a bazillion photos to my ipad and managing to blow my icloud memory out of the sky) I had a little time alone to reflect.
And in reflecting I was SO grateful!
I thought about all the people who had a hand, directly or indirectly, in raising my son with me.
Yes, I’m a single mom, but a whole slew of people have been instrumental in the successful rearing of my child. (And now I’m cracking up thinking of the quote from ‘Knocked Up’: Jay: I’m going to be there to rear your child. Jason: You hear that, Ben? Don’t let him near the kid, he wants to rear your child!)
I was completely filled with appreciation and memories. Gratitude and love.
I wanted to thank every single person individually. There are people who don’t even realize how much of an impact they had on my journey as a mom.
So I try to tell people who touch my life that they have. I try to remember to thank and acknowledge the people I love, the people who love me back – and the people who love Nic.
And in that moment, when Nic had my mother in his arms – and my dads hand in his – I knew he was doing the same thing.
I remember believing with everything I had, that I could never love anyone more than her –
And then I had him.
And what breaks my heart and fills it at the same time, is that he’ll find the love of his life and less I’ll be.
I’ll slip in importance until perhaps I’m not a part of his totem anymore.
There will be friends made and important things to do,
Children and moves and jobs and places to be
And there will be me
Loving him – the same way I do today.
And missing him – in a way I don’t know how
This is Nic, (Also known as, Nicholas, Pickle, Pcow, pernicow, umcow, umba the cow, bird, be-bah and many more nic-names).
He used to circle pictures of toys he wanted in those colorful catalogs that arrived during the holidays.
This is Nic today.
Yesterday he circled features he’d like on his Senior Class Ring! :-O
The ‘Packet’ came home.
It’s announcement, cap, gown and class ring time. WHERE did the time GO?
Of course, when a milestone like this arrives, it doesn’t saunter up casually whilst waving, it’s ninja like, and bonks you on the head out of nowhere with the reality that time HAS in fact flown by. I happily look back – because MAN there are some GREAT memories.
Thought I would share some of them, thanks to something I’ve done ever since he started to speak.
I kept a book of funny things he said.
Some of these might just be oh so precious to me, and bore the hell out of you – but I’ll give it a whirl – here’s a sampling.
Words most wise and profound :
“You should cut your hair, but be careful – it grows back. Mine does EVERY TIME!”
“Necessary animals that we can’t touch are lions”
“I love waterfalls, they’re so romantic” (seeing roadside flooding going down a street)
“Here’s the new story of Jesus. The new Jesus was so strong that he scared the Romans with his thunder shock and they were scared off into the whole wide world!” (Nic’s response to my explanation of Easter)
(Giving me a time-out) “If you do it one more time you’re going in time out … and it’s not fun for kids. You have to put your head down and you can’t get up – which Alex DID at the public library!”
(While wearing many necklaces)
Nic: I want to wear them ALL tomorrow. I want to be cool!
Me: You know, cool doesn’t have to mean a lot
Nic: I want to be cool in my own way
Precious and Hilarious:
(While drying his ears after a bath)
“Don’t do it with the towel … get the cupids!”
“Can I have eat of that?”
(Trying to take a picture of him on a camel statue at the zoo – he dismounts)
Me: Where are you going?!
Nic: I’m getting on the lump!
(At the store)
“Let me down! I’ll be good! I’ll give you a hundred dollars – or six, or nine”
(Speaking of growing older)
“I’ll still want to hug you when my hands are bigger than yours”
“Look mom!” (with a laundry basket on his back)
“I’m a snail! Poke my eye!” (I poke it – he retracts into the basket)
(I take the basket) “Now I’m a slug”
(describing his ‘share’ day at school – he took a remote control truck)
“They was crazy over it! They was shovey!!”
(interacting with his Lego knights without knowing I could hear)
“I’ll get you someday!! Maybe even tomorrow!”
Me: Does your face itch?
Nic: No, but sometimes it makes my finger come.
Me: Nicholas, make yourself useful –
Nic: OK, I’m a hairdryer
(Nic responding to me doing a silly voice to our dog, Morty)
“I like when you say those words. It makes my heart beat faster, even wider”
(asking for Sponge Bob cereal at bedtime)
“What? I just want a sample of nautical nonsense”.
Me: If you could only have one meal a day, what would it be?
Nic: Can I have more than one thing on my plate?
Me: Of course
Nic: Ok, um …. mashed potatoes, salad and steak
Me: I meant breakfast, lunch or dinner!
“Yeah you’re right – you surprise me sometimes” (responding to my insistence that he did need to go potty)
And – my favorite Christmas time one –
“All my life I never saw a figgy pudding”
Hope you enjoyed this little assortment. I enjoyed looking back – good thing I have these memories because he may not be speaking much to me after he sees this post 😉