This is the piece. Illuminating. And kind of spooky too. I wrote this piece SIX YEARS AGO.
That night, we took them out to dinner to celebrate their freedom, and lament the loss of mine. Though the restaurant was crowded with similarly jubilant parties, and Diminutive One kept jumping up to use the bathroom, it was a relaxing dinner. We talked, we joked, we teased one another like we do.
Pre-Pubescent One was telling me all about the many couples that had formed on the last day of school. He explained that anybody who had been too timid or afraid to ask the person of their dreams to "go out with them", had done so the last day of school, knowing, that if rejected, they would not have to face their peers or their paramour the next day.
Strangely, I can see the adolescent logic in this thinking.
After naming several new power couples, he ducked his head and said shyly, "I have a girlfriend you know."
And then his face broke into an incandescent grin, the likes of which used to be reserved for dinosaurs and matchbox cars. Suddenly, I missed that little boy very much. Now it's dimples and big blue eyes that cause him to light up. Now, his heart is no longer mine to protect.
I looked at him, trying to see him out the eyes of the twelve year old girl that I once was. He is tall and lean with narrow hips and broad shoulders. He has thick and shiny brown hair, that is fashionably long and feathers pleasingly away from his face. This is the result of much careful styling, but it looks perfectly unaffected. His skin is still smooth and clear.
He has enormous hazel eyes and full lips. They are utterly kissable those lips, and always have been. As a baby and toddler, he had to endure much smooching on his succulent red mouth. That mouth is now full of metal, but it only serves to make him look disconcertinly mature. He could easily pass for fourteen or fifteen.
It hit me with a jolt...my son is a hottie.
This realization made me feel a melange of emtions, but mostly, I felt inexpressibly afraid. Because he's a soft hearted kid; a sensitive soul. Like his Dad, he exudes tenderness, compassion and sensitivity. Like his Dad, he doesn't feel the need for a lot of hyper-masculine affectation. For that reason, girls have always been drawn to him. And for that reason, I fear his heart will be broken time and time again.
Girls are going to eat him alive, and there is nothing I can do about it. No band-aid, no ice bellied boo-boo bear, no tender kisses will be able to ease the anguish of lost love.
He noticed me scrutinizing him, and his grin widened self-consciously.
"What?!?" he asked.
He thought I was making fun of him, but I wasn't.
"Nothing, honey! I'm just happy for you. Tell me about her."
Her name is Ellen. She is beautiful. Ellen is nice. Ellen is smart, athletic and popular. Ellen this. Ellen that. Ellen, Ellen, Ellen. He wants to invite her over. He wants to take her to the movies.
I felt the Margarita that had been pleasantly warming my cheeks turn into a flaming ball of acid in the pit of my stomach. He had it bad.
I asked him if he had kissed her, and he confirmed my suspicions by turning scarlet and averting his gaze.
"So...is it time for us to have the talk?"
I was really just teasing. We explained to him where babies come from long ago. Inquisitive children have a way of ferretting out information before we're really ready to give it. In Pre-Pubescent One's case...that was at the tender age of seven, when he oh so casually asked me out of a clear blue sky..."So, Mom, what exactly is sex anyway?"
But with a sinking feeling, I realized the day was coming when we would have to discuss all the really tough stuff about sex.
He looked up at me through his lashes and mumbled "I already know about abstinence Mom."
Husband smirked. If only it could be so easy. If only I could tell my children not to have sex until they're married and know without a doubt that they would obey that directive...sigh...it would make things a whole lot easier. But both Husband and I are pragmatists. We will teach them about birth control and preach the gospel of Trojan to them.
"Well, honey, there's a lot more to it than that, but I don't think we need to talk about it right now."
He was noticeably relieved.
"So, ummm, you still love me the most, right?"
I was teasing again. Sorta. Kinda. Not really.
I've always known that my boys would leave me one day, and that another woman would become their best friend and confidant. These puppy loves are a horrible precursor to losing my boys. I know they will always love me. But they won't always need me. And that is a terrible truth to face.
"What do you mean, Mom? I can't like, date you you know!"
He looked fainly nauseated at the thought.
"Well....let's say, we were in a burning building and you could only save one of us. Who would you choose?"
He didn't hesitate.
"Well, I don't think I could carry you Mom."
He was teasing. The smartass apple doesn't fall far from the tree. But I must have looked stricken because he hastened to reassure me.
"But, I could like, drag you or something!
Jesus, this dating thing is going to kill us both.
I think it will be easier with Diminutive One, whom, I suspect, will love 'em and leave 'em and never be the worse for it.
Well...at least they can't get pregnant.