BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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My Empty Nest

Urban birds nest isolated on white.

I didn’t want to write about it. Writing makes me think, and this is something that is painful to think about. Okay, so maybe that seems melodramatic, but it’s how I feel. The little boy that I raised is no longer a little boy, and he’s no longer here. What’s worse is that little boy will never return. Ouch.

I know he’s a young man now and he’s where he is supposed to be.

I know he has a good head on his shoulders and I trust him to make good decisions, at least most of the time.

I know that this separation is not only normal, but desirable. He’s supposed to move on. I get it. But it still stings.

The other day I was packing my lunch for work and it dawned on me that I couldn’t recall the last time I packed him a lunch. He’s eighteen, a freshman in college, and quite self-sufficient. When did that happen? When was the last time I made him a sandwich, placed it in a ziplock bag in a lunch box, added raisins, carrots, and a granola bar, then a juice box and ice pack to combat the Arizona heat? Did he enjoy those lunches? Did he prefer strawberries or apple slices? Wheat thins or triscuits? Why can’t I remember?

Why can’t I remember the last time I read him a bedtime story or tucked him in? Why can’t I remember the last time I brushed his teeth or gave him a bath? I did all of those things hundreds and hundreds of times, but I don’t know when I stopped doing them. Why didn’t I pay closer attention? Now he’s gone, and it’s never going to be quite the same.

If getting divorced and ending up in a joint custody situation has had any upside, it’s this: at least I know how to survive without him. Those first few years were hell. Every time he was away from home was absolutely heart wrenching to me. When you have children and a marriage ends, joint custody is the norm, unless there’s a problem with one of the parents. In our case I had my son most of the time, but his father saw him weekly and kept him every other weekend. It was important that their relationship remained as intact as possible, given the circumstances.

My head understood this and supported it completely, but my heart was wounded deeply. I felt cheated out of my right to have my child by my side. How could I mother him if he wasn’t there? I hated it, but learned to live with it. That adjustment has been a life saver now.  I learned to trust that he was okay when he was away, and that if he needed me he had the means and opportunity to reach out to me. That hasn’t changed. I’m here if he needs me, but I’m confident that he’s okay.

Still, there are times I want that little kid back. The one I sang to at night, the one who made mini-golf courses in his bedroom and left his socks all over the house. I miss that kid, and I always will, but the young man he’s become is pretty great too, so I choose to focus on the here and now, and look toward the future.

 

 


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Surprise!


The other day was my mom’s birthday. It was a “big” birthday, as she likes to say. A real
milestone.
I thought and thought about what to do for her birthday. I wanted it to be a grand gesture. Something that would take her breath away. Something she would remember.

It crossed my mind to have the florist send the same number of roses as she is years old. But then I stopped myself. I was afraid her home would look too much like a funeral parlor. And then all those roses would die. How depressing.

I had to give it some more thought. What would she really like? What would anyone her age really like? I can’t do anything about the little aches and pains that have popped up over the years. And unfortunately, the friends she has lost are gone forever. What she most certainly does not need is more stuff. This woman has more than enough.

That’s when it finally dawned on me. She wants what we all want-time with the people she loves. Fortunately I’m one of those people. I booked the flight immediately.

My brother and sister-in-law  conspired with me. He picked me up at the airport and she and the kids picked up Mom. We got to the restaurant first and waited near the bar.

It was raining outside and inside was practically deserted when they arrived. My mom registered my brother first, after all he was supposed to be there. Then she looked at me, uncomprehending. You could almost see the wheels turning, before she finally figured out that I was really there. I walked to her and she grabbed me and started repeating, “I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it.” It could not have been more perfect.

That one perfect moment was worth every penny of the airfare. It was worth waking up at 3:30 AM, and flying Cross country squished in a tiny little seat. It was worth going through security, and worth asking for the seatbelt extender. Yes I needed it this time. It was worth everything.

I wanted it to be a moment she would never forget, I didn’t realize it would be one that I will never forget either.


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A Milestone – College Move In

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His actual dorm.

I can’t believe that I have yet to post anything about my boy going off to college. He’s been there two weeks! Well, not quite. Ten days actually, but who’s counting? Other than me, I mean.

The move in itself went remarkably smoothly, considering how enormous his university is and how many students were all moving in on the same day. There were hang-tags and driving routes and giant boxes on wheels with helpers who literally unloaded the cars and delivered the goods to student rooms. Wow. So different than my college days.

What’s not different is the feel of the dorm room. Yes, it’s cramped. Yes, it’s seen better days. And yes, I’m glad I’m not sharing that bathroom with three other people, but it’s a dorm room. It will work out just fine. His roommate seems like a decent kid, and he reports that they’re getting along well. Perfect. He just needs a place to land, sleep, shower, change, and move along. That dorm will serve its purpose just fine.

He moved in on Saturday the 13th and started classes on the following Thursday. He still hasn’t been through a whole rotation, but already he’s telling me about lab partners and research projects and trying to sort out whether he’s in the correct math class. He’s made a couple of new friends, reconnected with some old ones, and already participated in the old campus tradition of whitewashing the giant A that overlooks the campus from the side of “A Mountain” (which is really a butte, but don’t tell anyone).

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I’m really happy for him, and I know he’s going to do great, but I’m also missing him. I miss telling him to pick up his socks and walk the dog. I miss riding in the car with him (he finally got his license!) and catching Pokemon with him (I’m a little addicted, more than he is). I just miss having him around.

He’s been texting me a little, which is great.  Today he asked me to take him to a store for a lab notebook. I did. Of course. We went out for dinner too, just the two of us. Listening to him talk about his classes and new adventures was so gratifying. He’s in the right place, doing what he needs to do. I need to accept and embrace that without feeling sad about him growing up. I can’t help it, though. I’m a sentimental kind of mom. I love that kid completely, and I miss him already.