I write a lot about my daughter in these pages. Partly because our relationship is teenage girl-mother complicated. And like our hormones, her adolescent ones and my peri-menopausal ones, the relationship is strong but volatile.
Last year, for Mother's Day, I wrote about being the mother of a daughter. Of sharing shoes and jewelry. Tampons and little cardigans.
But I have a son too. He turned 17 in March. He's six feet tall, kind, smart, handsome.
He's leaving for college in a year. Or so.
And I frequently catch myself looking at him when he doesn't know it. (Because if he knew, he'd say, "Why are you looking at me like that?")
And I think, "Where the hell did the time go?" Because I don't know what's happened to my kid. In his place is this man. A young man, but still a man. Tall and broad with a stubbly-haired, chiseled jaw face.
He is one of the most even tempered kids I know. Except when he tortures his younger sister or gets stressed out about school. And then, well, he can be a teen. Which is when I try to assert my motherness and point out to him where he is wrong. And he (sometimes) listens.
I love my relationship with him. We talk a lot. He's always been a talker. And a thinker. He shares his problems, and his joys, with me and that makes me happy.
Our bond is strong and even sweet. He still hugs me. But only in private. I love when he wraps his long arms around me, even if it's for a millisecond. I get more high fives and fist pumps than hugs but that's okay. I'll take what I can get.
Sometimes, when he drives away from the house, and I turn back around to go inside, I freak out a little bit. But then I remember that he's going to college next year. And that this is how it has to happen. Gradually.
I'm so proud to be his mom.
Sunday is Mother's Day.
And as a divorced and remarried mother of two and stepmother of one, the holiday is a little different for me.
My husband doesn't celebrate it because as he points out, I'm not his mother. Unfortunately, his mom passed away almost 10 years ago. And I know he still misses her deeply.
And I'm not the mother of his kid, who will be with us because her mom has to work. I am her stepmother. But over the 11 years we've been together, I've come to think of her as one of my kids and love her like she is my kid. Never trying to be her mother but just another person who cares about her, worries about her and looks out for her.
So I'll celebrate Motherhood on Sunday. Mine and others. I'm sure that the kids will all give me morning hugs and be extra nice to me for as long as they can. And that's all. But that's fine. I don't need a commercialized holiday to recognize me for being a mom. I know that I am one every hour of every day. And I know I'm a damn good one. I learned from the best. The proof is in the three teens that will be waiting on me to make them pancakes Sunday morning.
(Happy Mother's Day Mom. Love you. Have fun being with my brother. And yes, I know that I'm still your favorite.)