One of the most difficult hurdles I've faced now that the boys have flown the nest, besides that -- try as I might -- I cannot scale my meal preparation down to cooking for two (when we were four, I cooked for twelve, now that we're two, I cook for eight), is simply accepting the fact that my sons have become independent young men.
I ask myself repeatedly where I went wrong.
What could I have done differently to bind them to me in both practical as well as seriously emotionally damaged ways that I overlooked when I had the chance?
If only I'd watched more Jerry Springer. I might have learned something.
Those heartless ingrates now do everything for themselves, including things like picking their own
Thankfully, my powers of self-delusion remain sharp.
Case in point: a recent phone conversation between me and my youngest son upon the occasion of his needing a new ironing board pad and cover.
How it happened in my mind...
Charlie, after dialing the phone while holding a framed 8 by 10 glossy of me to his tear-dampened cheek: "Mother of mine, I remain a helpless, befuddled cherub who cannot possibly find my way to a Walmart, not to mention purchase something as complicated as a new cover for my very own ironing board. Wouldst thou go to Walmart and, with your work-worn, withered hands, pick something out for moi, your devoted son?"
Unfortunately, here's how it really went down...
Charlie, in a most off-handed manner at the tail end of a telephone chat during which I held a framed 8 by 10 glossy of him to my tear-dampened cheek: "Oh, I have to pick up a new ironing board cover. Mine finally ripped."
Me, tail wagging: "I'LL GET IT FOR YOU, CHARLIE! ME! LET ME! I'LL GET IT! I"LL DO IT! LET ME!"
Charlie: "Nah, don't worry about it. I have to stop at Walmart anyway for some other stuff, I'll pick it up."
Me, sobbing and on the floor: "For the love of all that's holy, Charlie, have a goddam heart. Let me do it. I have no life, please, Charlie, please, please, PLEEEEASE......."
Charlie: "Jeez, Ma, okay."
The conversation continued....
Charlie: "And while you're there, I could use a package of white tees, could you grab some? I'll get 'em when I see you."
|Who doesn't need a parakeet?|
Me, hyperventilating and about to lose control of my bowels: "Can I get you anything else while I'm there, Charlie? Deodorant? Razor blades? Dry cereal? Peanut butter? Vitamins? Plant food? A parakeet? Shoe laces? Nail clippers? Shampoo? Frozen veggies? A seasonally decorated cake? A bath mat? Bird feeders? Dental floss? Roller skates? A dry erase board? Post-its? An egg beater? Slippers? Cat food? Camping supplies? Throw pillows? Tropical fish? Light bulbs? A grill....?
Charlie: "Mom, get help."
I may need to.
|An actual, unretouched photo of me and Charlie, or is it Tom, when he was little.|