“Mom, I have some news for you.”
I gulped, holding the phone. It was a cold day in March, and I wondered what my boy, standing in his apartment seven hundred miles away in college was about to tell me.
I remembered uttering those words to my mother as well, from my dorm room 100 miles from home. They were life changing words. I was 18 years old. A lifetime, my son’s lifetime, flashed before my eyes in the pause before I said, “Sure honey, what’s up?” as if I wasn’t shaking a little.
“Well, I have a girlfriend.”
A girlfriend. This was indeed news. Poor Z had never really had a serious relationship in high school; there were some crushes back and forth, and a long distance thing he’d carried on via the Internet with some girl out west, but he’d never really had anyone special enough to confidently give that designation to.
“Wow, that’s great news,” I responded cautiously. “How long have you been seeing each other?”
“Two weeks,” responded my son with the seriousness that only a 21 year old can muster when speaking of a relationship.
I sighed. I remembered the days when two weeks seemed like a lifetime. When you thought you knew that your entire world had changed and that you could confidently say that this person was going to be there for you, forever, after only two weeks. I stifled the matronly words that leapt into my head and spoke: “Wow, OK. What’s her name?”
And just like that, things were different. My son had a girlfriend. My son was an adult, graduating from college, looking for a job, and had a serious girlfriend. I have friends that are married to the people that they met when they were where my son is. More than one. As if I wasn’t quite sure that my son was growing up, moving on, getting ready to start a real life, the news brought it all into very sharp focus. And that’s a good thing. This is what parents work towards, hope for, make sacrifices for their whole lives for. To see their children happy and moving forward.
Fast forward six months and my son has come home with his girlfriend for the weekend. They are still together, they are still serious, and they hold hands under the table at dinner. She is polite, she is respectful and she loves our younger children and our dogs. Her parents are closer to my father’s age than my own, but I suppose that is to be expected. I can’t tell who is more nervous: her at staying with us or us worried that she’ll find us somehow less than her own experiences.
Either way, we’re all trying. Who knows where it all will lead, but for now, it’s good.