“Mom, this was the first time we ever saw a movie alone, just the two of us.”
“No, that can’t be. Are you sure?”
I was watching my 18-year-old son, coffee cup in his hand, looking up at me between bites of his doughnut. We decided to grab a snack before heading home after watching “Hidden Figures.”
Wasn’t it just yesterday that I would walk him in his stroller to Dunkin’ Donuts? How could this man with the scruffy beard be the same toddler that I would hand-feed pieces of Munchkins to so he wouldn’t choke? And is it true, had we really never seen a movie, just the two of us?
“Yeah Mom. We usually are with Dad, or Lizzy and Peter, or Grandpa. This is the first time it was just you and me.”
The minute he said it, I couldn’t help myself from wanting a do-over. That’s it, he can’t be grown up, because we haven’t seen more movies together, just him and me.
It doesn’t matter that I’ve been an at-home mom his whole life. I got to see first steps, hear his first words, and watch almost every play, field day, and concert he took part in. We’ve had our share of mother-son dates. Who cares if this was the first time we saw a movie alone together? Kathy, get a grip.
I’ve had so much time with him. But selfishly, it doesn’t feel like enough.
I’m not ready for him to graduate high school this June and move on to college.
Yes, it was our first movie alone, but would it also be our last? It was just luck that we went to this one together. Usually he spends his weekends with his friends. But since he has been gone so much lately, he decided to take it easy and stay home with us. There’s no girl in the picture yet. Once that happens, I won’t see him much at all.
I’m ashamed to admit this, but I didn’t even really want to go with him. Or with anyone for that matter. I’ve been so stressed-out dealing with my daughter and her special needs as well as just the daily grind of being a mom of three that all I wanted was a few hours in a movie theater by myself.
I said a silent prayer of thanks that I listened to my better angels and said yes to a date with my son.
As my mind rambled on, I could hear Tom talking. The film moved him greatly. Of course he knew that racism and sexism existed, but it was different seeing it play out on screen. How is it possible that such abuse went on back then? Why is it that it racism and sexism still plague us today? He marveled at the strength of the women at the center of the movie’s plot and of the actors’ performances.
I had to keep willing myself to stay present because a part of me couldn’t get over that this young man who was so articulately discussing the film was the same kid who, as a small child, was so speech-delayed his preschool teacher told me she doubted he would ever lead a “normal” life.
I’ve watched him work so hard to overcome his dyslexia and do things that other kids took for granted. There were days when I wondered if I was up to the task of guiding this amazing person. Yet here he was, sitting in front of me, speaking of the history of NASA, and talking about about camera angles and set production.
I wish I could go back to that young mom who was terrified that her child would be OK. I would grab her and tell her that she should relax a bit and enjoy her child. It all worked out fine. He is getting ready to spread his wings and leave the nest.
Of course, knowing myself, I wouldn’t have listened.
So I snap out of my fog, and do my best to enjoy the moment I have. Sip my coffee and be glad for a date with my son.
This piece was previously published on Kathy’s site, My Dishwasher’s Possessed!