Here we are at the “day that tells you what to do.” March 4th.
It’s our baby boy’s 20th birthday, and he’s three hours away. I missed making him a “G” pancake this morning (all the kids got initial pancakes on their birthday mornings – some more recognizable than others). But a couple of things make this “missing you” birthday bearable.
First, when we discussed his upcoming birthday, he decided he wanted to just postpone any celebrating until he got home for spring break. He wanted to have a special family time together, and that made my mama heart sing for joy. Of course, I sent him a card to open today. I worry about our baby feeling like he’s all alone. Like he cares! He may not, but I do.
Second, he has a concert of one of his ensembles coming up on Monday, and Middle Sister and I will make the six-hour round trip to hear him sing a gorgeous solo in Gaelic. It will mean getting up at 4:30 the next morning to get us home in time for work and school, but I’m a mom who’s crazy in love with her son and it’s worth it to me.
An old friend dropped by last evening to visit with Middle. He’s had a crush on her forever, and has been noticeably absent since the day he met her boyfriend over winter break. It was good to see him again, but my mom radar kicked on when I heard him mention how awesome she looks (having lost 50 pounds due to long-term stomach issues). This very nice young man quickly covered with “of course you always look good.”
But I couldn’t help having a moment of worry about body image. I’m always concerned about the messages that constantly bombard young women about how they’re “supposed” to look in order to be cool, or popular, or pretty, or whatever. I think it’s safe to say our daughter is in a good place in that department. She didn’t set out deliberately to lose weight; she radically changed her diet for the sake of her health. She loves how she looks now, but she’s not obsessed by it. But still, she’s my baby.
There was other mom worry a couple of nights ago. Middle’s boyfriend had a gig with his band at a bar in Westport, a party district downtown. She doesn’t enjoy that scene, but felt strongly about supporting her friend. I wanted her to go, but I definitely did NOT want her parking downtown and walking through that district alone at night. I was incredibly thankful when boyfriend’s father offered to go with her as an escort, for her safety.
Last weekend a friend jokingly asked when she would get to stop worrying about her daughters. She said she’d like to just be herself, and not a nervous middle-aged woman waiting for confirmation that her daughter got home safely, survived a flat tire, or got herself to a doctor when sick.
Except for the hormonal moments when I get so distracted by sleepless nights and hot flashes that I completely forget to worry about my kids, I think it will never happen. We sign on for mom worry the moment we hold those little red, crinkled-up faces in our arms for the first time, and it doesn’t end.
I don’t think I would want it to.