It’s hard to let loose of your role as somebody’s mommy. Recently my 40-year-old son spent the night. I fought the urge to tiptoe into his bedroom and hold a mirror under his nose to make sure he was still breathing, just like I did when he was a newborn. When do you stop worrying about things like that? Is it time?
He moved into his own apartment 20 years ago. It was only three miles from home, but he kept in touch with regular phone calls.
Day one’s phone call: “Hey, Mom, guess what I am doing right now. Running with scissors and you can’t do a thing about it! Ha-ha!” Click.
Day two’s phone call: “Hey, Mom, guess what I am doing now. Got a cold beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other! Cough-cough. Ha-ha!” Click.
Day three’s phone call: “Hey, Mom, guess what I am doing now. Got a naked chick on my lap! Ha-ha!” Click.
Ok, now I think he is just messing with me. Is he trying to initiate a stroke so he can collect his inheritance early?
When Christmas time arrived that year, I wasn’t ready to give up the Santa charade. There is something just not right about holidays without a child in the house. Late on Christmas Eve I put on the suit and beard and packed Santa’s toy bag with age-appropriate gifts: safety scissors, Alcoholics Anonymous pamphlets, nicotine patches, and a box of condoms. I headed to my son’s apartment and tried to jimmy all the locked windows. Somebody called the cops.
While I was at the police station waiting to be booked and fingerprinted, I chatted with the other potential inmates. There really weren’t a bad bunch if you could overlook a few minor character flaws…like arson, armed robbery, and felonious assault. I was “sprung” after a family member arrived with bail money.
One of the things I miss most as an empty-nester is tucking my son into bed at night. I always kissed him goodnight, even if he was already asleep. I could still do that, but he lives across town. He also locks his doors and sleeps on the second floor.
But the way I see it, if he doesn’t want me in his house at night, he shouldn’t leave a ladder in an unlocked shed in his back yard.
I made it safely into his bedroom, but I forgot about his yippy little dog. It bit me on the ankle, which caused me to drop the little mirror I was holding under his nose. You know, just to make sure he was still breathing. The mirror poked him in the eye and he screamed. It woke up his children and they started crying. Then his wife took a swing at my head with the baseball bat she keeps under the bed. Somebody called the cops again.
I hope Nick “The Weasel” Ramone is still in cell three. I hear that he is willing to be bottle-fed, burped, and rocked to sleep if the money is right.