This is what it’s all about.

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.

11 Comments on “This is what it’s all about.

  1. (o: Pink Floyd still rocks :o)
    Your last post about journalistic integrity touched me (as did this one).
    It can be heart-breaking to live in a world were fewer and fewer people choose truth, and justice, and kindness, and love as survival strategy: but this does not mean it is still not the best one in eternity – even in the face of the “obvious worldly-success” of so many connivers, murderers and cruel tyrants.
    Congratulations to your son. Congratulations to his father.
    And Laila Yuile, to you lady ;o)

    • Many thanks, Wylde. If there is one point I am sure my ex and I would agree on, it is that we made the most wonderful kids, and yes, both of them hold all the values listed above.

  2. Wonderful, I went through this last year with my 17 year old, minus the nose although he only missed by half a year defending one of his friends who was assaulted by a much older man for no reason. Shedding a tear with you Laila, I too couldn’t ask for a better son, he is now in Alberta working steadily and learning more every day. He too speaks up when he sees or hears injustice and he too had problems with a teacher who thought to teach the rest of his class an incorrect answer to a problem. Couldn’t ask for a better son, 😉 broadly through the tears. Oh and I didn’t need to go out and purchase a tux, my sister, who is multi talented made him one for a grad present. He looked so handsome in his black tux with a white vest and tie, and black shirt.

  3. Oh dear Laila. What a lovely story.

    I shouldn’t say this, it’s a dead give-a-way. My son is 47 now. Eek, I’m so old. He was a high honors student too. I was on my own as well. The highlight for me was when, he graduated as an Electronics Engineer with honors. Like you, I don’t know where all the years have gone.

    But, there are more rewards for you to come Laila, your grandchildren. My son at times, gives me the evil eye and says, boy, I would never have gotten away with that.

  4. Thank you for sharing this story Laila. Made me cry too, thinking of my own son and the trek we made to buy his grad suit. He is enroute to Afghanistan today, via Germany. What a crazy world!

  5. “…he would rather hear a truth that hurts, than lies that feel good, and he’s not afraid to speak it either.”

    Beautiful! These are the most precious qualities of Leadership in Life….Ross

  6. Cheers to our wonderful boys and cheers to all us Moms who raised them (along with their Dads) to be the incredible men they are today! And here’s even more good news Laila….wonderful boys attract wonderful women and you have a whole lot more happiness ahead.

  7. Great article Laila. Congrats to you for having the patience to have your kids turn out like that. BTW, I like Pink Floyd but in my crusty old age , Queen is my favorite.

    • Ah, you are all so great at indulging my personal stories- thank you! Gary, I love Queen too, Freddy was a one in a million, and together they were magic.

      Cheryl, glad to hear it, although I cringe at thinking of being the ” Mother in Law”… cue the scary I’ve had one lovely MIL, and one not so lovely… and certainly I hope I fit the first description one day!

      Ross, I was thinking the same thing. There aren’t a lot of people who like to hear, or say certain truths, so I appreciate his qualities even more.
      Kim… a big hug from me- can you feel it? I have my yellow ribbon up for you and Dan. Keep strong, my friend, we are all here with you.

      Julie, that makes me smile! I keep hearing grandkids are the best, and I look forward to one day having many I hope, with all 4 of my kids! I do hope all of them get to enjoy their lives for a long time as adults though, before children start coming. I had my first two young while getting a degree and it was hard, but I know now it was for a reaon- the women in my family go through menopause very young, and I had great difficulty conceiving my last child at 36. Had I waited til my thirties, it is highly unlikely I would have been able to have more than one or two, and I absolutely cherish my 4!!

  8. I “married” two stepsons, the elder of whom died in a plane crash just coming up 20 years ago. The younger boy is now 33, still has an elfin sense of humour as well as a good job, a loving wife, and two children of his own. Once he stopped being two (at about age two and three-quarters, he became inquisitive, thoughtful, considerate and the joy of our lives. Teen years were more of same: he brought me back the complete works of Georges Brassens and Auvergnat sausage from a visit from France, did well in school, got employed by the college from which he graduated (same tech program) and is about as good a dad as there is. I showed this post to my wife and she cried, feeling the joy and her own sorrow at the same time. Poignant stuff that really speaks to why you do the other work on this blog. Thanks so much.

  9. Laila,

    A job well done! All the best to your son and yourself…….and may all his dreams come