Rainy Days and Teens
So here I am. I’m at our lake house and its soggy. I’ve said yes to my kid that as part of his graduation present he can bring friends up here. Girls and boys. Somehow we set a limit and somehow, in the effort not to hurt certain people’s feelings, he exceeded that limit without checking with me.
As the rain pours down and the TV blares with the cheesy R rated movie they’ve rented, the septic system groans with overuse and I try desperately not to pick up each tortilla chip as it drops on the carpet– trying to pretend I’m rolling with this, I will the time to speed ahead. They are all going out for pizza in the nearest town soon. I can’t wait.
I have kept my mouth silent as they used the new fluffy expensive bath towels for beach towels in the absence of me being there to direct them. The damage is done– they are already in the dirty sand– what good will looking like a harpie do now?
And as I sit now, with time to relfect, to write a little and catch up on the emails I seem never to be able to wrestle on top of, I reflect that its awfully quiet. I like this.
Yes, no Mom craves to be in a house on a rainy night with a half-classroom of teenagers. They certianly don’t want me here either. But now, all this quiet– quiet enough to hear the rain on the roof –this is what it will feel like sometimes when he is gone. Next year when my son heads off to college, althoug there are still three girls at home, I will feel the absence. It will be its own kind of silence.
Why is there no middle ground? This age seems like its all or nothing. All of them coming at you full-throttle or gone…. out for the night as you hope to catch snatches of meaningful conversation at a dinner table somewhere.
Eighteen years of raising him and yes, it seems to have gone fast, but it also feels like 18 years. I can remember all the iterations like a photo collage in my mind;s eye. I went to wake him the other morning and I just began sobbing— i just saw it all telescoped together like a deck of cards being shuffled by a dealer.
My son was instantly awake, alert, worried at my sobbing. I should have been using this tactic for years now to get him up. “Nothing is wrong,” I sniffed. ‘I’m just thinking I only have about six weeks left to do this,” I said, ruffling his hair.
“I’ll always come home,” he said to me in a kind, little boy voice. “And I love you,” he added, looking right in my eyes and holding my gaze.
I’ll carry that moment with my son in my heart for a long time; through four years of college and as he moves on to take his first job, find a girl, settle down and have kids of his own. I don’t get the chance to look inside my son’s heart as often as I like. But I saw it that morning, shining bright and clean and constant– love — the best gift I could have given him. Even if I can’t wait for him and his friends to leave the house on a rainy day.