the beginning of the end
I always wondered how this would go down.
Being a mom is all I ever wanted out of life. Other kids dreamed of being doctors, pilots, firefighters, and while I grew into aspirations of my own (foreign diplomat, talent agent, prizewinning writer - hey two outta three ain't bad), it was always with one caveat.
I remember my own mom asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My answer was quick and emphatic, "a mommy."
"Yes," she said, "and what else?"
What else?! What else could there be? It was everything I could dream of to hang homemade stockings by the fireplace each Christmas, give baths with strawberry shampoo, toast perfect grilled cheese sandwiches every Sunday after church, read princess stories, and and snuggle somebody I loved each night before bed. There was nothing more glamorous, more glorious, more fun, more anything than being a mommy.
Which is what I told her, and what she wrote on my Kindergarten vocational aspirations: "Just a plain old ordinary mommy."
When Punk was born, then Kooka, then Yoda, my life was finally how it was supposed to be.
And just now, I am getting glimpses of how it will end.
Punk has a girlfriend.
The extent of a 9th grader dating (at least in our house) consists mostly of sitting next to each other at lunch, texting lines from your favorite Disney flicks back and forth and sitting next to each other at a g-rated movie - still, even with this, I am beginning to understand how it feels to have your child move on.
There is the race to be excused from the dinner table so he can call her back. There was giving up family movie night to sit by himself in the school auditorium to watch her play viola in the orchestra's Christmas concert. There is asking for advice on how to make a good impression on somebody's parents. (My advice: be yourself - your best self, but yourself. Parents can smell insincere asshole a mile away). The same kid who wouldn't loan his starving sister a dollar for bowl of gruel, is spending his allowance on a gift that his gf would, "absolutely love."
This is how it feels to know that someday we will not be his family, to know that someday, we will not be who he comes home to, who he shares his secrets with, who knows more about him than anyone else. That will not be me.
It sucks. And it is ripping my heart out little by little.
But for as heartbreaking as it is, I am astounded, thrilled, at the kind of young man he is to this girl (at least for the moment - this is 9th grade after all). He would rather have her here to visit, but he knows that it is his responsibility to make her parents comfortable with who he is, so he is manning up over winter break to meet her parents and four older brothers. He's admonished her ex for making inappropriate comments. He is the kind of boy that I hope his two sisters bring home when they are in high school.
So while my heart is breaking just a little more each day, it is also full of joy for the kind of life he is aiming for, the kind of relationships I hope he will cultivate. So far he is quite a catch.