Friday, May 14, 2010
25 years ago today I began a love relationship with a - then boy,now - man that continues to grow and evolve. I had no idea what I was getting into, was scared, excited, anticipatory, and completely ignorant of what it would take to make this relationship work. I thought I knew; I had read book after book, had tried to make myself as prepared as possible, had tried to keep myself looking good for the part, had created an inviting love nest. And then it happened. The relationship began. My beautiful son, Nicholas, was born.
I was such a scared new mother, and he was such a fussy newborn. I was an accomplished professional completely thrown by all I didn't know about being a mother and the lack of mentors or handbooks for the role. Nick was an accomplished miracle of nature and ready to learn everything, no handbooks necessary. What a pair! But somehow we stumbled and experimented and giggled and cried our way through calamities and challenges, school projects and performances, humiliations and triumphs. While Nick and his encyclopedic brain devoured one subject after another, I learned ( and often forgot) about rain forests, dinosaurs, baseball and the military so that I could be part of his world.
The thing that I never understood as a new mother was that ultimately there would be two measures of whether or not this relationship was successful. The first measure was if he could leave me. And the second measure was if, after leaving, we could develop a new version of our relationship, one in which we continue to love just as intensely, but not be so needy of one another.
And so, here on the amazing occasion of Nick's 25th birthday, I am not decorating his room with streamers nor carefully building a cake shaped like a castle. The boy for whom that would be wonderful has, indeed, left me. Instead, throughout the weekend, I'll be listening to music at clubs with this great guy who is at the top of my list of favorite dates. That we cook together, confide in each other, listen to music together, and then go our separate ways is as good as I ever need life to get. Happy Birthday, Nick!