What Moms Are For
But we tossed and turned in separate rooms for different reasons. Finally, he rose from his bed and crept into mine, filling the space beside me in a way he never used to.
He used to get lost in my bed, almost invisible beneath the voluminious comforter. Only the warmth of his body and the reassuring whisper of his steady breathing told me he was there.
Now, his legs extend farther towards the footboard than my own, and his knees and elbows knock against each other as he tries not to invade my space.
He wanted to talk.
He used to seek my bed as a refuge from nightmares and boogeymen; imagined things I could banish easily with just my presence.
Now, he seeks my bed for far more complicated reasons. I don't always have the answers he needs, and a hug is no longer a surefire cure for his broken heart.
But I try. It's all I can do.
So when he folded his body into the bed, I knew why he had come.
We talked about a lot of things and some of it was really tough stuff. I can't share it with you here, because it would be a violation of the trust he placed in me. But someday, you'll know what it is to be faced with problems that have no clear cut solutions. You'll know what it is to feel inadequate in the face of your child's trust.
But I can share this...
"There's one more thing I want to tell you Mom. But I'm not sure I can."
I can't even describe to you what goes through a mother's mind when her adolescent child says something like that. Fear. Just cold, sharp, unadulterated fear.
"When you're ready, babe. You know I'm here to listen."
There was silence then as he wrestled with himself. I resisted the impulse to fill that silence with leading questions. I simply waited.
He turned to me then, and though I couldn't see it, I could sense the bashful grin that adorned his face.
"I told her that I love her."
"She's the first one."
I think my heart broke a little bit just then. Some other woman had claimed my son's heart and now, it will never be completely mine again. But there was relief as well. No sinister confession, no terrible secret, no tearful unburdening. For now.
I grabbed his hand, now larger than mine, and squeezed it.
"Oh, babe...first love is so special. You'll always remember it."
"I sure hope so." he said.
He left me shortly after that, light and unburdened.
I laid there awake for a very long time.
Once it was us, experiencing the bashful delight of first love. The hope of reciprocity. The angst of rejection. Now, their time has come.
In some ways, I'm only too happy to pass the torch. I like the comfort of marriage. The security of familiarity. The easy companionship that comes from lengthy cohabitation.
However, I can't deny that the thought, though fleeting, is there...
Remember that first kiss? That first real love that wasn't puppy love or a a crush? Remember how your heart beat so quickly and your stomach fluttered and you couldn't keep from smiling?
I want it back. Just for a moment. Because I didn't savor it nearly enough the first time around.
And sadly, neither will he.
When the time comes, I'll remind him. I'll tell him about that night he stole into my bed and told me he was in love.
A witness. That I can be. That I can do.
Isn't that what Moms are for?