I glanced at the clock when I heard my husband say to my oldest son, “Call me when you get home.”
“Where is he?” I asked.
When my husband replied, “He’s on his way home from work,” my stomach began churning. Not the hunger-type churn but the worried-mother-type churn. Our son had purchased a home just months before and was still getting a handle on things; but between work and other demands, it wasn’t easy. My husband and I—and his brothers—had all helped out with painting, cutting the lawn, some electrical and lighting things and so on.
It took all our willpower (my husband’s and mine) not to completely take over, but to just be available to help if and as needed. We wanted to take care of our son, get him set up in his new house. Mostly, I wanted—needed, really—to know that he was “okay” and that he wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the demands on new home ownership.
The point of the call that had just taken place was to set up a date and a time that my husband would be able to come and help with another task.
To hear that my son wasn’t yet home from work for the day brought me to full attention. My brain went into mother-calculation mode. It is the only time my brain can do any math. Okay, he started his day with the sunrise and will end it with the sunset. Given he needs to now cook himself dinner…that means he’s operating on five hours of sleep. By now my stomach is in full blown acrobatic action. I’m talking Flying Wallendas. I’m worried about what he will make himself for dinner at this late hour and want to drive the 25 minutes away to greet him with warm food.
Every cell in my body is aching to go take care of him. The show on the television in front of me no longer has meaning. I can hear the words but don’t understand them as my mind creates a plan to get dinner to my son. My body sits on the couch but it is imagining the scenario in which I will feed my son. I want to bi-locate like never before.
Of course I know that this won’t happen—neither the bi-locating nor the actual delivery of food. I know that I have to let my son be and let him learn and grow. I know what my job is now—even as I ache to tuck him in just one last time.
I am so proud of him that sometimes I find myself crying. They are tears that remember that little boy who loved to sit and watch Mr. Rogers and eat dry Cheerios. They are tears that recall the day he received his college acceptance letter. Tears rim my eyes when I think about my son going off on his first job interview. My tears are those of gratitude that God has allowed me to know this incredible young man—an amazing son, a giving brother, a loving grandson—and has allowed me to be part of his journey.
* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.