My sister told me it would get easier to handle – that painful, pathetic love I have for my child that debilitates me sometimes. I think I love my son too much, and I am told it is not possible. My sister’s girls are grown now – or close to it. The teenager is old enough to fend for herself and badgers her mother for money and more privileges. (A typical teen?) My sister rolls her eyes at her, fusses sometimes. I said, “Does it stop feeling painful, that love you have for them?” She said, “Yeah. It’ll stop hurting someday. When they get older, more independent.”
I think that’s when I’ll worry about him more. Will he make the right choices? Will he hang out with the right crowd? Will he stay safe for me?
I didn’t always make the right choices when I was a teenager or even a young adult. I’m not sure my choices now are the best, but everything I do has new life because of him. I breathe because of him.
Last night my son had dinner at his grandparents’ house while Rick and I caught a quick bite at Gianmarco’s before Rick went to soccer coach training and I went to a reception to get roped into PTO obligations I both want to and don’t want to jump into. We sat at the bar next to three people, one of whom we were already acquainted. Like conversations at bars often do, our words tangled together and it wasn’t long before we were talking artichokes and brunch and Natalee Holloway. I had watched the rerun of the TLC special about Natalee on TV the other night and, coincidentally, there are new reports that the primary suspect in the case may have confessed on German TV. I shared the same empathy for Natalee’s mother as the woman next to me. I said, “I couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t.” And she said she couldn’t either. Not even now that her son – an only child – is in his 30s. She said they talk on the phone or text each other everyday. They always say, “I love you.”
“I thought it got easier,” I said. “I thought that painful, pathetic love for your child got easier when they grew up.”
“No,” she said. “It gets worse.”