I brought my son a grocery cart. I had two and found them extremely useful for carrying heavy groceries home on foot. Besides, you know how when you think of China you immediately think of hundreds of thousands of people on bicycles? I do, anyway. Well here in Germany lots of people have the little shopping trolleys. It’s what’s done.
The boy was dubious. Touching the handle of the little navy blue plaid contraption threatened his masculinity. In the end though he gave in, took one for the team and used it for his old mom’s sake. Did I mention he was a good boy?
Anyway, the plan was that I’d come over and fix biscuits and gravy for breakfast. That was the intention. The reality was that he had nothing to cook with and by the time we’d shopped it was well past lunch, the smart little cart had lost a wheel, burst two seams and he was carrying it upright across his chest the last two blocks home, all the while cracking jokes about how incredibly helpful it was and what a wonderful idea I’d had. I spent this time bent double and cross-legged in the street laughing until I hurt and praying I wouldn’t pee myself. Sarcasm, you’re doin’ it right.
Finally we got everything home and were both loopy from laughing and low blood sugar. I set about cooking and about 30 minutes later handed him a huge plate of country potato wedges and two big cheeseburgers with the works. As I approached him with the plate his eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas morning and he choked out breathlessly, “OH… it’s BEAUTIFUL!”
I swear, that look and that compliment was one of the best things that has happened to me in a long, long time. I’m going to remember this good day forever.
Today I visited my eldest son in his first ever apartment. Or as he might more colorfully put it, his bachelor pad. Da place where all da magic gon’ happen.
Do people even say ‘bachelor pad’ anymore? Whatev. Plus a huge scoop of duckface.
He’s been living on his own for one week today and believe me he isn’t nearly as excited about that fact as I am. Not that he’s a bad kid and I wish him gone, but whew, the memories! See, what people don’t tell you about having kids is that if raising them to near adulthood doesn’t do you in, you get to live certain milestones all over again in technicolor. Walking through his door for the first time hit me like a… ah… well, it hit me. Suddenly I was in my own first place feeling those exact feelings.
Strangely enough we were both the same age when we moved out and also strangely enough I had just as much nothing as he does right now. Less nothing, even. I didn’t have two nothings to rub together. I swear I’ve never seen anyone so at the start of their life as he is. He needs everything, and everything is for the first time. Every moment is man first walking on the moon for him right now. And proud! My goodness I never saw anyone so proud. Wouldn’t admit to being without a single thing. Need? What need? He scoffs at need. He’s a man now. Men don’t need. Men go out and get what’s coming to them in their own time, in their own way, and men certainly don’t need no mamas tellin’ ’em what those things are.
I have to smile at the bravado. I’m just so proud of him and love him so much. It’s such an exciting time for us both. I told him tonight before I left to be sure and remember this moment. “I’ve been sitting right where you are and remember it clearly. Remember me one day when you’re sitting where I am now, talking to your own son as he starts his new life, and you’ll know exactly how much I love you.”
My grown man, on his own. There are no words.