The Kiddo came home from college for the summer last week. At first I was all jumpy and clappy because I have missed that boy so much during the last nine months. Then right in the middle of all that excitement, I was all “oh shit, the boy is coming home.” Because I’ve kind of enjoyed him not being there.
I know. Great mother’s of the world unite and beat me with a stick! How dare I enjoy my baby leaving the nest.
I met Captain Carl when the Kiddo was 8 years old. It took him a long time to warm up to me. He was convinced I would try to replace his mother and he felt guilty for liking me. He was an adorable little boy, all buck teeth and freckles. He insisted that his hair be cut in Pee Wee Herman fashion, so obviously I fell in love with him immediately. Oh man, just thinking about him at that age makes me want to squeeze his little face off.
It might have taken him awhile to warm up to me, but we had (and continue to have) a great relationship once he did. He called me his “buffer”…the voice of reason between his dad and himself when things got heated. He would climb into my lap for no reason at all, except to grind his bony butt into my thigh and laugh when I tickled his back. He still does that, actually.
He never called me mom. Right before I married his dad, he asked me what he was supposed to call me.
Me: What do you want to call me?
Kiddo: Not mom. That would be weird, since I already have one.
Kiddo: Can I just keep calling you Marcy?
And so, I’m just Marcy to him. I took it as a compliment that he felt comfortable enough to tell me he didn’t want to call me mom. Although he has called me that when introducing me to people. To keep things simple, probably. But I still get a little thrill when he does it. Because as far as I’m concerned, he is my son. Not my stepson. I’ve raised him as my own. He has lived in my care for almost double the amount of time he lived in his mother’s.
Anyway, my point was going to be that even though I was all sad face about him going away to college and I did miss him a lot, I actually enjoyed the time the Captain and I have had alone. We’ve never been just “us”. He came with a ready-made family, so we didn’t get a honeymoon period. Since the Kiddo has been away at school, we’ve had more date nights and we actually socialize with grown ups sometimes. Listening to the Kiddo practice his trumpet was replaced with listening to, well, nothing. I found that I didn’t worry as much about what the boy was up to all the time. My evenings were freed up from obsessing over where he might be and the illegal/dangerous/stupid things he could be doing right at that moment. I still worried, but it was in a more abstract way. My mind had more room for other thoughts.
But still, I could not wait for the Kiddo to come home. So now he is and immediately my mind went back to that place where I worried more. Would he be able to find a summer job? He really needs a haircut, I wonder if I could get him in for one today? I hope he doesn’t go out tonight with that kid I hate…he’s nothing but trouble. He better not try to hook up with Bunny while he’s home.
Etc, etc, etc.
And of course, I wondered if he had any clean underwear. I don’t why it’s this way with mothers, but we seem to be in a constant state of underwear concern for our children. When I asked the Kiddo if he needed any laundry done, he laughed. And then he brought me all of this.
For those of you with untrained laundry eyes, that right there? That’s seven loads of laundry on my floor. SEVEN. For one person.
Me: Son, when was the last time you did your laundry?
Kiddo: Not that long ago. I was going to do it before I came home but I was out of detergent.
Me: What is that? Is that mud?
Me: On all of your jeans?
Kiddo: I went fishing a lot.
Me: Where were you fishing?
Kiddo: In the river.
Me: I think we’ll just throw all these socks away and get you new ones.
Me: Because they’re black and they should be white. And most of them have holes.
Kiddo: Hey, did I tell you that I killed a water moccasin when I went fishing?
Me: *look of horror face* No.
Kiddo: Because it tried to take my lure, but it got caught on it.
Me: So you killed it?
Kiddo: I had to. I cut it’s head off.
Me: Ohmygod. Aren’t water moccasins poisonous?
Kiddo: *laughs* Yeah. It was awesome.
Me: Ummmm…you still have your health insurance card in your wallet, right?
Kiddo: Yeah. Why?
Me: Oh, just…making sure.
Worry worry worry.
On Becoming My Grandmother
4 months ago