Before bed last night I watched a video of my grown son giving a hilarious toast at a wedding 1,744 miles away. I sat on my couch here in Texas and laughed out loud at this creative and entirely not-shy California man who used to be my little boy.
I felt proud, but instantly knew that his unabashed bravery and confidence had very little to do with me. Have absolutely no clue how this rugged and handsome man learned to charm a crowd the way he does. He is a natural storyteller and comedian.
But my other thought, the one that hit me like a freight train was that I was jealous of the people in his life.
I am jealous of all those wedding guests in that laughing group. They understood the hidden meanings behind some of his words; they have inside jokes that I will never get. I may have met a few of them over the years, in passing, as he leapt into one car or another. But most are complete strangers to me, though intimate companions of his.
Life with grown up kids is like rediscovering your child over and over again. You must keep readjusting your heart to update the person in front of you. I love being around my grown sons. I cannot get enough of them and have to be careful not to let that show too much. Don’t want to be a creepy mom.
After they move out there are lots of little moments where you wonder what your new role is anyway. I recall standing in my laundry room and noticing that my visiting son’s wash is done and needs to be moved to the dryer. I haven’t done their laundry in years, so I question whether I should just transfer his stuff from washer to dryer or let it sit and wait for him to notice. Will he be embarrassed if he finds me touching his wet clothes? Am I being too sensitive? I call out that his wash is done and he bounds in to do the deed saying “Thanks Mom.”
Now one of my sons lives 26 hours away from us and I stalk him on social media and do not always tell him that I know about the parties and craziness. I don’t want him to close off my access to his life, without me. I look at the people in his pictures and I’m jealous of the time they get to spend in his orbit. They get to see him at his best and his worst, and they get his movie references.
I am sure that my daughter-in-law, married to my other son who lives close by, cannot imagine a day when she will not be aware of every little thing about her baby son. Right now she knows it all, from bowel movements to new teeth pushing through. Her heart will not dwell and cannot fathom a future when he will have secrets and friends that she does not know.
I love that wedding crowd in the video I watched last night. My son was probably not at all nervous before them, but I am still grateful to them for laughing as loudly as they did. He was funny enough to deserve those big laughs. I’m thankful to them for adding to the richness of his life so far away from me. I like them for loving him.
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