Desperate times, desperate moms
Not long ago, I happened to be in the middle school building at the end of the day and, thinking maybe my son would like a ride home, I popped up to the eighth-grade core. One hundred and twenty-five adolescents streamed out of their classrooms at the same moment, filling the hallway like rush hour traffic at the roundabout.
From a distance I spotted my son chatting with friends, smiling and laughing. Exactly what I would expect, since this is generally how I perceive him at home: talkative, outgoing, affectionate. I smiled to myself as he interacted with his friends at the end of the day.
And then he spotted me.
Shock came over his face and then something else (horror?) as he immediately dropped the conversation, strode efficiently to me and said ” not “Hi mom,” or “Hey, what’s up” expectantly, but ” “What are you doing here?” as though I was in violation of a police restraining order.
“I was here to drop off some things to the office and thought maybe you’d like a ride home. But if you’d rather take the bus … “
“No, I’ll ride.”
“OK,” I waited expectantly.
“OK, then. Bye.” He said with a backhanded wave.
He actually waved me away.
And so it began.
By all accounts, I actually made it a particularly long while before my son disowned me in public. He was fourteen ” practically a grown-up, or so he’d have argued.
And honestly, it’s not like I had kids so they would cling to me like a jersey-knit skirt.
But I kind of figured if anyone was going to act like they didn’t remember people it would be me at the early-onset of dementia.
My daughter, who by the way still celebrates when I walk in the door of her fifth-grade classroom, asked Nick the other day if it embarrassed him when I show up at his school. “No,” ” I brightened! ” “not unless she does something embarrassing, like talk to me.”
Ever the glutton for punishment, I found reason to test his theory when I showed up at the high school today (high school!) to deliver a certain geology project. His milquetoast welcome said it all. He did walk with me into the cafeteria (I’d offered to buy him a drink, after all), though noticeably a few steps in front. And he presented a half-hearted pat on the shoulder when he said (after a gentle reminder) “thanks” for making the special trip.
Still, I left the school feeling a little rejected. Like leftovers two days past. I needed some reassurance and a teenager hug wouldn’t be out of line, either. Clearly, this called for extreme measures and as I walked, shoulders slumped, to the high school parking lot I began plotting. We moms are a crafty bunch, and I’m not talking about scrapbooking. This called for the big guns. The holy grail of mothering tricks. This called for chocolate chip cookies.
Timed so they would be fresh out of the oven when the school bus pulled up in front of our house, I placed them on a plate to cool just as the brakes screeched to a halt. The door opened and all three kids rushed in, backpacks flinging in all directions.
“Hey, Mo ” hey! I smell cookies!”
“You made chocolate chip cookies?”
“I love you Mom!”
“You are the best mother in the world ” have I told you that?”
“Did I say I love you?”
I was suddenly crushed by not one, not two, but three sweeping hugs, nearly pushing my kitchen chair over in their enthusiasm. I smiled secretly as Nick gave me one last long squeeze before pouring himself a glass of milk.
Hey, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.
Charla Belinski’s column appears every other week in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. Contact her at Belinskis@comcast.net.
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