Here it is: When the boy is living in another city/province/ country, I do not think at all about his comings and goings. Seriously. I think about him with love and with longing to see him, but I don’t fret and worry at all about whether or not he is safe or when he gets home on any given night. I don’t focus on it. BUT ... and this is a big but ... when he comes home to our family home, I worry. Is he safe?
“Luke if it’s late, take a taxi!”
“That’s okay, Mum, just going to subway it.”
“Oh ... ahhh ... great ... ahhh, will the subway still be running??”
“Oh ... then ... good ... great ... yep ... okay.”
And then I worry. I wake up in the middle of the night when I have gone to sleep without hearing him come in, and I stumble to his room, push open the door with sleepy foot, and gaze until I spot his sleeping lump. But yes, the good news is, I do actually go to bed and sleep. It’s not as bad as the first time he came home and I would ram twenties into his paw and say, “For a cab, dear God, for a cab!” And then I would proceed to sleep in front of the TV ‘til his key turned in the door. I am much better now … and yet ...
Why? Why am I doing this to myself? I went through many possibilities and this is the closest I can come to maybe explaining it. I figure I cannot control his life outside this city/province/country. But I can control it here at home. And yet, the truth is, I can’t! But I guess it comes from a place of him being a little boy in this house and, as such, the house is filled with years of Mum panic. It hangs in the air like baked salmon and lives in my pee like asparagus.
So ... do I have three dogs: Fanny, Bairn and Pavlov’s? Is it just trained behaviour? I hope so. And I hope the fact that he, grown man he, will be living here for a stretch, that I will evolve in this too, like every other letting go stage of his life.
To my credit though, I say nothing to him and let him live his life.
But in the meantime ... fascinating, is it not?
Barbara: I can’t believe you’re writing about this, Deb!! Since Michele has come home, I’ve been asking myself the exact same question: Why am I suddenly so concerned about her comings and goings???
Like Luke, she is responsible and savvy and street-smart. For the last school year, she has wandered unchaperoned and unchecked-upon through a large and busy city. But suddenly, now that she’s home, I’m all about the, “Why don’t you call when you get there?” “Make sure you send me a ‘I got here safely’ text.” “Where are you going and who’s going to be there?” I swear I didn’t worry about these things for one second when she was gone (well, okay maybe a few times near the beginning there), but I am consumed by it now that she’s back in the house.
Like you, I’m also trying to make my questions to her sound innocent and offhand, trying not to burden her with an idea that I suddenly don’t trust her anymore or want to lock her up. But I have been finding myself worrying when she’s out. It is very … weird…