Friday, May 13, 2016

Mothering Memories

A belated Happy Mother’s Day to all!  I don’t know about you, but Mother’s Day is always a day of reflection for me on some aspect of parenting.  This is the first Mother’s Day I didn’t get to spend with my son, I just realized, in 27 years.  Boo!

I got to thinking about the times I miss from when Sammy was little.  Random and sometimes surprising—like diaper changes.  I never minded those because they were an occasion for his little eyes to stare up at me directly and he always engaged, smiling or even giggling. It was pure “us” time. So was singing to him, medleys of songs my mom and my nana sang to me, from “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” to “Mares Eat Oats and Does Eat Oats and Little Lambs Eat Ivy.”   I also loved reading to him and making up songs to go with the stories when he was a toddler.

In the pre-cell phone days car time was close to pure “us” time, too (yes, I had to pay attention to the road, but never had to compete for his attention with games or texting). We had some pretty good talks alone in that car, from those great little throwaway lines kids are capable of that just crack you up when he was little to more substantive talks as he grew older, and car time yielded secrets of his inner life.  And I’ll never forget the times I’d drive a car full of adolescent boys to the skating rink on a weekend night, the car so full of a mix of colognes that I’d have to open the sun roof to be able to breathe. 

When he was in college nearby, he’d come home on weekends to do his laundry. Though he was thoroughly engaged with his peers, popping in and out of the house, a mere “bye Mom” flying by my back as I sat reading in the living room or stood cooking in the kitchen, and he was not there to specifically see me, I still loved the simple fact of his fleeting presence.

Meanwhile, this year my “little guy” called me on Mother’s Day from Brussels where he’s in the Foreign Service.  One of his friends since elementary school had just been there for a visit and they’d traveled to three other countries in Europe.  These days our communication is by those phone calls and email (no, we haven’t been Skyping as we just can’t seem to get it to work, though it’s time to try again, I think). When he calls, the caller ID always comes up Unknown Caller, so I find myself having to answer all kinds of telemarketing calls I wouldn’t otherwise pick up on, but oh, any chance to talk to my boy! And I check in periodically on his Facebook page to get new pictures and see what he’s doing with his new colleagues in Brussels, or where he’s traveling to with the many friends he’s had to visit.

The nice thing about the phone calls and emails is they are intentional communication, where he’s specifically reaching out to me.  I miss my son and though I wax sentimental with memories at odd times, it’s the present connection that nourishes and sustains me the most. I love you, son!