In two weeks my eldest son will walk across the stage to receive his diploma, along with the several hundred other kids in his graduating class. He and I went to select his tuxedo for the grad dinner and dance at the Hotel Vancouver, and shared a little alone time, which is rare for us since he has three siblings. We looked at all the options, and I could tell his eyes lit up when he saw a certain display tux that looked a bit thirties gangster-ish – in a classy way, but I knew he was worried about the price. I shook my head, no worries, and touched his arm. He’s a great kid that way, always conscious of our budget. His colour selections complete- black on black with red vest and tie -he came out of the change room for his fitting.
I couldn’t help it. I didn’t think I would but I did.
I cried a little.
Here was the baby I gave birth to 17 years ago, standing before me as a man. 6’5″, size thirteen dress shoe, he was a stunning sight to behold in his jacket and pants, grabbing the attention of more than a couple sales girls -despite the swollen, scabbed up nose on his face. Being the guy he is, he tried to break up a fight between two guys who were scrapping on the weekend and received an elbow to the face as he tried to pull one of the guys away, breaking some of the cartilage on the tip. Just in time for grad…
Watching him as he watched me cry, I could only smile through my tears. Where did the time go? How do I stop it? Ohmygod he’s going to be on his own soon…. all the thoughts of thousands of mothers like myself flew through my head.
He’s been a pleasure to have for a son, since day one. Easy baby, quiet and curious, a deep thinker and a progressive one. He’s an honour student and not on a few occasions, corrected his teachers or challenged them- respectfully – on their lessons. Once I received a call from a teacher complaining about this, stating that my son had corrected him openly in class. What is the issue, I asked, were you wrong? The teacher replied that in fact, he was, but he did not like the challenge in front of the other students. Was he disrespectful, I asked. Again the teacher said he was not, but he just didn’t like being shown to be incorrect in front of the class. I asked him if he would rather my son stay silent and allow him to teach an entire class the wrong answer… and he abruptly said he had another call.
As good of a kid as he is, the road has not always been smooth and there have been life lessons along the way, some heartbreaking for both of us. It’s never easy to see your child go through the crap life can throw at you, but it’s part of parenting to let them experience both success and failure to learn and grow. Every time he’s shown me he’s learned and grown, and I can’t ask for more than that. He’s good on the inside, where it counts.
He insists I walk on the inside of the sidewalk, carries my bags,holds doors open and does nice things for no reason for a lot of different people.He’s taught himself to play guitar, has ridden his mountain bike off every dangerous thing he can find and I have performed more first aid on him than I care to recall. He can change a diaper although he would rather not and he is an ace at making origami frogs. He has one earring and one ear plug, and I am pretty sure he is going to have one or two or more tattoos as he gets older, but he assures me in places the world can’t see unless he chooses to take his shirt off. We listen to the same old rock – Pink Floyd is one of our shared favorites.
I’m not sure where he will go in his life, but I know he will do what is right for him and be truthful to himself in the process. He’s a heck of a lot like me that way – he would rather hear a truth that hurts, than lies that feel good, and he’s not afraid to speak it either.
We finished our outing with a hug when we got home.
As I stood there in his arms, my 5’10” feeling small against his massive frame, I realized his heart was beating strongly against my face. Closing my eyes and listening, his heart beats seemed to almost synchronize with my own. Thud-thump.Thud-thump. For a moment, we two seemed as if one, once again.
I think he’s alright. And I’m so glad I’ve got him for my son.