It makes sense, after all. My son is an adult now, even though I have to remind myself of the fact of twenty-four years. My instinct to reach for his hand as we cross the street will come in handy in a few more years when I need help negotiating traffic. And all those reminders I got from my mother for all these years about how I will never stop being her son make more sense now that I have this context. I want to do everything I can to make his path in life easier.
Some things, I find, are beyond my control.
As much as I would like to be the all-knowing all-caring source of all that is good an kind in his life, my son has discovered that I am a minorly flawed being. I do not know everything. There are things that he would rather not discuss with me. No matter how interested I am. Or pretend to be. And it's not like he keeps secrets. He sometimes sighs and tells me "I'd rather not talk about it."
And this makes sense.
I have to remember being in my twenties myself. I have to remember that I was looking for someone who could understand those bits of me that I kept hidden. Or shared my excitement for the things that no one else seemed to appreciate. It's a calculation. It's a wager, a chance taken on the world that is spreading out in front of him. I am grateful for all the ways he has helped expand my world. Formula One racing, for example. Memes for another. These and other cultural threads might never have become part of my quilt, but I have my son to thank for bringing me the flavors I might never have tasted.
And all the permutations of meat and cheese we have always shared together.
Now he is on a separate voyage, and even when he lives in the basement just below us, it is a separate life. When it came time to figure out who would give him a ride to the airport, it wasn't automatically his mother and father who were on the hook. He figured he could just call a friend, just like he would once he arrived at his destination. A little piece of my heart broke then, but I know I'll be okay since his parents are still the ultimate backup. And his biggest fans. I can't wait for the next postcard or text. Or the name of the Korean Barbecue place he discovered. When did that become part of his palette?