who do ya love? (first in a several-part series)

In an attempt to tear myself away from the political soapbox I’ve been on lately, I’ve decided to get back to reaity and write about some of the people in my life that make it all worthwhile.

The Son:

What can I say about my son, Julian? The Prodigal is 18 years old now and a senior in HS. Last month, when he asked me if I was going to go to Parent/Teacher conferences, I told him that, at age 18, he was now totally responsible for his grades – good or bad – and if he wasn’t self-motivated by now, there wasn’t much else I could do for him. Since he continues to bring home pretty much all A’s, I guess it’z all good.

I realized the other day, with a start, that I will never ever be able to rock my baby boy to sleep again. NEVER. EVER. He will also never ever snuggle with me, or read books with me, or express that the only girl he wants to marry is his mommy. And while I’m glad that he seems to have hurdled the classic Oedipal complex, as well as mastered Piaget’s final phase of cognitive development, I still mourn the loss of the little boy who once sucked his thumb and carried a blankie. I found the remaining scrap of his blankie in my closet last weekend while I was reorganizing, and took it in to show him.

“Lookie sweetie -see what I’ve got?” holding the little scrap up to him proudly, positive he would melt at the sight of what was left of his beloved cuddly object. I imagined him saying something like “Oh mother dear, you’ve found my old blankie. How positvely wonderful of you!” and then we would retire to the kitchen for hot chocolate and heartfelt conversation.

Instead he wrinkled up his nose in disgust and said “What’s that?”

“You blankie!” I exclaimed. “See, I kept it for you!”

“Yeah, whatever mom” he replied, his face resuming its normal closed-off expression just before he shut the door to his room; putting the proverbial wall between us back in usual place.

I sighed as I returned blankie to its place among the other keepsakes from Julian’s little-boy-hood – favorite stuffed animals, first outfits, heirloom quilt – realizing that these symbols of a little boy’s childhood have now been permanently replaced with the realities of a man’s life – ,job, car payment, college, girlfriend.

Speaking of girlfriends, Julian has a wonderful girlfriend who he’s been going out with for 2 1/2 years. Shannon is a smart, talented young lady who keeps my son in line, most of the time. She’s the kind of girl you’re secretly grateful for, knowing full well the other possibilities out there just waiting to get their hands on your precious baby: Goth chicks, Drama Queens, and worst of all – Cheerleaders. This isn’t to say that the kids are perfect. There was a pretty big upheaval when we all found out they were having sex. Believe me, getting my mind around the fact that my teenager has a sex life was a lot harder than I thought it would be.

I guess this really means he no longer wants to marry his mommy.

But everything’s been handled in a mature way, and there won’t be any little Julians or Shannons running around in the near future, thankfully; although the thought of eventually having a little one around again kind of warms my heart.

Anyway, MY little baby is all growed up, and I’m astounded and thankful that I’ve successfully raised another human being to adulthood, without permanently inflicting some kind of personality disorder on him – at least not that you can tell. He’s smart and handsome and athletic and best of all, he appears to be as politically liberal as his parents and grandparents. I guess you really can’t hope for anything better than that, can you?

Shannon, and the Modern Face of Manhood (oy vey)


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