kids growing up and becoming independent
Last month, a friend was talking about how she feels like she is losing control of so many things in her children’s lives. Her eldest son will be heading for high school in September, and she had just learned he had watched The Hangover and Wedding Crashers while at a friend’s house: two movies she didn’t think were appropriate for someone his age.
“But what can I do?” she asked, shrugging her shoulders. “He was at someone else’s house? I can’t control everything all the time, can I?”
Then she began to fret over how her younger son’s bus driver allowed his middle school-aged riders to listen to all kinds of music, much of which she considered to have inappropriate lyrics.
“Did your son’s bus driver let the kids listen to music?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I said, honestly. I mean, the topic had never come up. “Let’s ask him.”
We called Monkey over from where he was doing something Monkey-ish to ask him our mommy-questions.
“Were you allowed to listen to music on the bus this year?” I asked.
Monkey thought for about .3 seconds and then answered with absolute certainty.
And then something happened inside my brain: a little click: that proverbial light-bulb warming to slow glow.
“Dude,” I smiled, “You don’t know what happens on the bus…” I paused for effect.
Monkey looked confused.
“You’re a walker!” I laughed.
Monkey smacked his forehead with his hand and wandered away laughing.
Our house is located about 200 feet from the back of my son’s school. Each morning at 7:13 AM, Monkey put his dishes in the sink, opened the sliding glass doors, and slid out back where he disappeared behind a bunch of pine trees and evergreens. We both know this. It was his routine for 180 days.
Our simultaneous forgetting was a peculiar mother-and-son moment.
We used to do so much together. Everything. For years, he was like an extra appendage, wrapped around my leg or lying across my lap. Many times, I have answered a question that he had not yet even asked.
“Yes,” I would say.
“I didn’t even ask you anything yet?” Monkey would say.
“Yes, you can have dessert. Go ahead.” And then we would cozy up on separate ends of the couch with only our toes touching, eating small bowls filled with vanilla ice cream and rainbow sprinkles.
Back then, he thought I was magic.
For a period there, I was sure I would remember everything, each detail. The curve of his pinky as it curled around his blue blanket while he napped.
But you don’t; you forget things.
And it’s okay, I guess.
I love that he is growing older, growing into the person he will one day become more fully.
But there are some things I miss: like those Vulcan mind-meld moments.
So I guess I’m mourning something, too.
What things have you forgotten lately that you know you should absolutely know?