Tuesday, December 2, 2014

When Did I Become Adorable?

 Apparently I've become adorable. 

I'm not quite sure when the transition occurred, but I'd been told this quite a few times this past weekend when my youngest came home from college.

I remember when I realized my grandmother was adorable. She was of the older generation when speaking loudly and colorfully, having politically incorrect opinions about everything ranging from the neighbors to the mayor to the inept postal service (pre-email days) was normative and quite entertaining, I might add. With her bouffant of done-up white hair and slash of red lipstick, we would hang on her juicy tidbits borne of conversations at the local watering hole, aka the beauty parlor.

Have I become that, I wonder? An amusing fount of harmless regurgitated gossip with little value and contribution except as the outrageous anecdote-telling Grandma that rips everyone a new one? I had more respect for my elders, and I think my child does as well, so what exactly has earned me my newly, somewhat questionable descriptor?

I think the answer lays in the fact that I still regard my offspring as a child and he is about to turn twenty-one in a couple of weeks. I do my level best not to treat him as my youngest, although his siblings roll their eyes when he dumps his laundry bag in the middle of the kitchen with the implicit understanding that everything in it will miraculously appear cleaned and folded by the time he has to leave again. I send back carefully wrapped packages of homemade food to tide him over until his next visit and laugh at the right points when he relates some of his missteps away at school and cluck sympathetically when he feels he's been undermined by a teacher or classmate.

I'm not doing anything differently than I've done over the past few years since he's begun shaving and driving. The difference is how he views me. Yes, he sees me as supportive, always having his back, but calling him out on his nonsense as I see it, but now I'm the link between him and his siblings, nieces and nephews, and grandparents, when he doesn't have the time to connect with each of them. I'm the one he relies on to tell him who is doing what when he is knee deep in law school applications and is starving for some entertaining morsel that reminds him of his goals and why he is pushing forward at breakneck speed when others might be slacking off. I am less the disciplinarian and rule maker now, because truly, he's heard it all for the past almost twenty-one years. If our family values haven't seeped in and been seared into his brain: Treat others with respect, Make a good impression, Be kind, Look for the positive...well, then there would be little point now.

I've become adorable because he now views us as equals in our adult status and this is his gentle way of letting me know that. He's told me he really likes my company and enjoys hearing what I have to say. He respects me as his mother, I know that, and my new job is to remember that he is truly an adult, as he's been for some time. Even the DMV regards him as one, switching out his Under 21 status, and of course, he's allowed to drink, duh.

When I ask him why he wants me to weigh in on decisions about his future, or on hot news topics or on a girl he's dating, he'll say, "Because you're my mommy," sounding almost child-like in his belief in my ability to miraculously fix scraped knees with a kiss.

Yes, I am. So I'll keep doing what I'm doing because of all the hats I wear: author, designer, matchmaker, wife, the one I put on over thirty-two years ago still fits very well.

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