Ode to My 21-year-old son
When you were born, Dev, it seemed I would have you that way forever. It was unfathomable that babies would turn into 21 year old juniors in college. I used to hear mothers chatting about SATs, college acceptances and graduation, and I said to myself “I will be the mother whose child has Benjamin Button syndrome…my kid will stay five, and be five, even in twenty years.” I didn’t imagine you would ever get big. The reality of my denial would not set in for a long time.
As you grew, each year, although you grew with those years, did not seem a big deal. You were still my little boy, and even in grammar school, with every passing lost tooth, hockey tragedy, family trip, bigger shoes, bigger pants, I still said to myself “He will never get older…just watch. He will stay this age forever.” It wasn’t until high school graduation I said, “Oh shit, this is really happening.” And, I asked God, where did he go? We had a deal, remember? I promised to have as many kids as you would send me, and they would stay little. God, you reneged, and I’m pissed.
So now that you are 21 years old and four thousand miles away from me in Europe, I had the rude awakening, that time really waits for no man. That adage should be, “time waits for no mother, and spits on her while she is wailing on the ground holding on to a 21 year old baby blanket.” You are an independent, free-thinking human being, who, although your Florentine apartment on that adorable Italian cobbelestone laden street, with the tarantella like name, Via St. Antonino is a complete contrast to your dwellings, veiled in filth and a foul odors which can only be attributed to six twenty something males co habitating, you are doing it on your own, traveling the world on your free weekends, and well, living without your mama…in a land far, far away.
But, I realized something. Although our life has changed, nothing changed. When I visited you with Brynnie, our threesome resurrected, with love, care, hugs, and inseperability. My little boy was hugging me again, wrapping his big boy arms around his little mommy, and even though we conversed like adults, shared adult thoughts, opinions and curses, I realized that little boy never left me. You never thought twice about putting your arm around me when we walked, or hugging me tightly even when the guys were there.
I realized that although the kid who needed rides, help with homework, help lacing his skates, a binky, an oversized Yankee jersey, and little feet was still alive…but only in my heart. The man you became still needed hugs from his mom, advice, and love. I realized a mother is a mother forever, and that little boy who morphed into a man, will always be my baby Devin, and that’s ok.
I got “unangy” at God, (but only for a moment), and said “thank you for the opportunity, although fleeting, to have that little boy in my life. That was my gift for opening my door (and other things) to motherhood. Thank you for letting him grow, allowing him to fly, and for being exactly where he is supposed to be.”