First of all, like all mothers ... ok, most mothers, my sons are most definitely at the top of a relatively short list of those I would die for (no pun intended.) I remember after the Professor moved out I slept with one of their "souvenir" baseball bats under my pillow in case I needed to bludgeon someone who broke into the house and threatened us. Yeah, me and a 12" bat from The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY vs. a robber. Not good odds ... but I was willing to play them. Or at least pretend that not only I could, but that I WOULD, and WIN! Or die fighting for them. Go me! Go Sons. GO TEAM!
I realize that due to my own background, birthing and raising said fine young men was/is not only something I LONGED for, but something I DID, and while I certainly didn't do it perfectly, I did it with positive intention, love and RESPECT for who they each were as individuals. I recognize that after a decade of childbearing and another couple of child rearing it has been 32 years since I carried a child w/in me and will be another 18 months until the youngest has graduated from college. Just doing the math (love the math.) When that day comes, I will be 57 years old and more than half of those years (33.6 years to be exact) will have been spent with them in the FOREFRONT of who I was/am.
So it is with this respect for who they ARE as young and approaching not so young adults, that I am no longer going to write about them specifically. When I started this blog journey I did so so I could tell them MY story ... which got lost in the shuffle of child bearing/child rearing/divorce/graduate school/child rearing/teaching and more child rearing.
My favorite Sister/Cousin (I'll talk more about this phrase later) is an accomplished writer whom I LOVE to read and talk to. She has guided me through negotiating my birth family, divorce, and was there (in NY) to long distance talk me through getting a diagnosis (although I do think there really WERE times she truly thought I was nuts.) She is bright, she is bold, she is frank ... and she herself is at the top of a very short list of those I call when in SEVERE distress. I know she'll give it to me straight, no sugar on top, and definitely no cherry.
After the aforementioned convo with one of the sons I wrote her and asked, "How does one write about one's life and NOT include their children?" She wrote back and said that when he was ll, "Boy" asked that he no longer be mentioned in her columns. Boy is now a Grown Up and I haven't read a public thing about him for more than a decade. Yes, she also keeps her word, no matter how unhappy or uncomfortable that may make someone else. Harsh? I used to think she was ... now I just see her as one who is just totally comfortable being herself. Because she had to be to get through her own life, grew into it, and she became it as much as it became her. I truly love this woman. But I digress.
I'm past the "empty nest syndrome," past the lack-of-soccer-shoes-in-the-hall syndrome, and past the backpacks-on-the-floor syndrome. But hopefully, I will never be "out" of the mommy- love syndrome. I imagine w/in the next five years or so I'll also be in grandmother-love (although I hope for a more original moniker than THAT!) I'm thinking of stealing "Ya Ya" from a midwest friend. But in the end, my grandchildren will call me whatever comes out of their mouths, and I'll think it pure gold.
Back to The Sons. One of my parenting "themes" and consequently teaching "themes," is that children deserve a childhood. One as carefree and childlike as possible. A child deserves to grow up crawling/toddling/walking/running his or her path, not in the shadow of another sibling or adult: to be who THEY were born to be. And I can say, with tears in my eyes, I think I did an ok job at this given what I had to work with at the time. But my job isn't over yet. In able to STILL give them that childhood, I need to respect it long after it's gone.
To that end, I will no longer be writing about individual sons. I may write about them as a group, but I will not "rat them out," "give them up," or otherwise betray the sanctity of their short yet precious youths. May they grow stronger, more secure in who THEY are and in the love of their family and friends, and more into the men they were born to be.
I love you, guys.
Mommy mommy -