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They Grow on Me

   There’s a lot going on. Remember when your biggest challenge was should you buy the Cheerios or the Frosted Flakes for your kids? I tended to want to buy them the Tony the Tiger because it was just more fun and tasted so much better. I was probably about 42 before I realized Cheerios should have been my choice if I were a proper mother.

   The other thing I’ve learned over the past few years is that these damn kids are going to grow up no matter how hard I try to stop them. And believe me, I’ve tried. From neglecting to teach them how washing machine cycles work to skipping over the whole bed making routine, that’s me. Mother of the stinking year. The more dependent on me they are the better I feel. Am I supposed to regret that? Because I probably won’t.

   I clearly remember buying nursing pads to put in my specially adapted nursing bras that cost $30 when $30 was like $100 is today. I pumped the breast milk and put it in the refrigerator at the Falmouth Enterprise. And yes, people mistaked it for some super creamer. Now I’m about to turn 54 and I still ask them if they want apples with peanut butter for snack.

   I had a bit of a situation last week with my eldest. He somehow got himself hospitalized with a collapsed lung. It was traumatic…more to me than him I’ll argue. The thing was that he had just left my cozy rented house on Martha’s Vineyard to make a big change to move to New York…City with a capital C. My daughter came with me to see him in his medical catastrophe and because he’s her big brother, she was not much better than me.

   Finally he was released from the hospital and into the custody of my ample arms. I had a room booked in Brooklyn with a hot shower. I bought the best of the medical adhesives at the Walgreens on Flushing Ave. I even got him some Q-tips. He loves them. I don’t know where he gets that. Anyway, I was completely prepared to nurse him back to health right in my hotel room.

   It took about five minutes before he figured me out. “So, I’m going to go back to the apartment and do some stuff on my computer. What time do you need me here in the morning to figure out the subway with you?” he says.

   It took about a millisecond before I realized he had no intentions of staying in my room that night. Not to mention the fact that I had a large queen-sized bed already for us. Just one.

   “Oh,” I said, ignoring the tears welling up in my eyes. “You want to spend the night at your place?”

    “Well yeah,” he said. “You didn’t want me to stay here did you?”

     I tried to play it cool.

   “Well,” I said, “I thought maybe you could and I could be sure you’re okay.”

   “Mom,” he said in complete seriousness, “I’m not Norman Bates. I’ll be fine.”

   I’m not going to kid you. By this time it was all I could do not to retch and scream out loud, “You’re my baby! I’ll sleep with you on this queen-sized bed just like I did when you were a week old…”

   Ultimately I let him go. I did not like it. In fact, I hated it. But I have to say it was one of the most immediate lessons I’ve ever experienced. It might be time for me to start thinking about letting these babies fly free. I want to pad this nest with chocolate milk and Frosted Flakes and love. And they want to take just a sip and move on. Damn this growing up business.


Deb said…
A collapsed lung?! SCARY! He's clearly inconsiderate to not let you snuggle him all night long in that hotel bed. Rotten kids...

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