>The Birthday Boy

>Birthdays are sometimes harder, maybe deeper for the mom than the kid. Or am I imagining this in a hyper-exhausted, need emotional support kind of a bog and fog way?

My youngest kid is 20 today, and we haven’t been having an easy time. So does that make me feel older, less competent? Yes, it does. And I am steeped, working on a piece that takes place in my family’s life nearly 7 years ago, right before September 11 happened, makes me reflect back on when and how it got so hard between me and my son.

I know that moms and boys need to have a real separation. I know that, but it is tough when I see it as a strident separation. I love this kid and feel as if time is passing so so fast. And yet I bet he thinks that time is slogging and he wants his real life to jump-start and begin, but instead it is another birthday during the dog days of August, when few friends are around. It is another end of summer waiting for school to start, or dreading its start. He is back to college on Monday and it feels very weird to me this time because we haven’t found our way back to each other.

Everyone fights, but this feels different, and so today when I saw the homeless woman on the corner, I saw me. When I saw the couple fighting in the super market, I saw me. I viewed myself in every negative, sad or difficult image of women that I passed as the day unfolded.

We went to dinner, my son and husband and I, our daughter is still in France. It was quiet. The men seem fine not really discussing the elephant in the room, meaning talking about sports, and repo guys, or heat, or the menu. And all the time I am screaming in my head, why is this so difficult, why isn’t it loving and kind. And my husband tells me it will change and he will come around, if I keep believing.

And so I do. I bring cupcakes, which melted into a box puddle and I had to steel myself to not cry at the table, as I felt they were the metaphor for my relationship with my Henry. Melting and not what it should be. Sweet but needing time to maybe pull together in the refrigerator. Is that what time does to relationships, a kind of re-forming.

I had to head to rehearsal and Henry was walking the same way. I started to walk with him, but he made it clear he was going onto the phone. I piled onto my bike and cried all the way to the rehearsal loft. I miss him.

Maybe it won’t always be this way, but for now it is and he heads off to college to be more of a man very soon. The music really transported me tonight, and every time the mother in the opera sings, “I’m worried about Henry, about the kids in school,” I think, yes I am still, still worried and still love him so much.


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