(deep histrionic sigh)
(once more for good measure)
a sniff. Where's my hanky? Dab eyes.
It's that time. That moment in every mother's life when, no matter how many snotty noses she has wiped, no matter how many foreheads she has soothed, no matter how many encouraging words she has whispered, she finds herself unnecessary. Redundant. VHS in a DVD world. Dialed up in a wi-fi universe. Obso-freakin’lete.
I should be used to this. It’s happened before. Twice. And it will no doubt happen once more in a few years. Why it should take me by surprise this time is one of those unfathomable mysteries, like why my hair is just right, just right, just right and 20 minutes later, an inch too long.
My little boy doesn’t need me anymore.
Ok, to be fair, this has been an ongoing process since he left the womb in 1993, all pointy-headed and red and screaming. The boy has healthy lungs, I’ll give him that. Little by little, year by year, he’s wiggled further and further out of my arms. And out of my grasp. One day I was changing his diapers, the next I’m adding him as a driver on our auto policy. Somewhere in between, I became fallible. Subject to criticism. Open to cross-examination. Lately, I'm just invisible.
And it’s all because of a girl. (Cue Robbie Fulks).
If I was semi-useless before, I’ve now come full circle in my expendability. I get it, I’m the old and diseased musk ox the lions cull from the herd, my every breath an affront to youth and that complex hive of hysterical neediness known as high school. We used to watch soccer together. Sometimes, a movie. These days he’s watching American Idol (the horror! The horror!) with her. He used to pick all the tomatoes out of his bowl when I made chili. Now, he’s at her house when dinner time rolls around, hopefully NOT picking the tomatoes out. I’m sad and I’m glad all at the same time. There’s an upside: I don’t have to WATCH him dissect food, and UT sports will never override my soccer viewing. But there’s a down side, too. There’s a hole in my life where that boy used to fit.
Growing up. Not for the faint of heart.