My sons are among the bravest and wisest men I know.
Sure, lots of mothers probably think highly of their sons, sharing a bond that lasts beyond the eighteen years of teaching and growth. They love their mamas and often look for those qualities in a mate, sometimes worrying that the woman they have chosen will not measure up or the mother and daughter-in-law will not get along, each vying for her place in that man's heart.
Of course, I love them, I bore them, journeyed through light and dark places for them, vended off a knife-wielding robber on the streets of Chicago for them, walked through the icy cold for them, ate a can of soup for them, literally put down my hopes and dreams for their security, they are my heart.
Now that the are older, they are also my wise counsel and lens through which I can view myself and decisions I make. They are my cheerleaders and promoters and buoy me when my middle age threatens to take the tiger out of me.
They are brave and wise and astute and remind me that nothing that happened was hidden from them, that they understood the many nights I sat up studying while they were sleeping. That they saw the five year old jeans I wore so their ever growing feet would be properly covered against the snow in Iowa. They reminded me that they understood why I didn't date when I divorced and put my energies on raising strong young men, they even understood why I remarried and watched silently as moves and changes happened in that new life.
Mothers may never understand the struggles of say fathers and sons to get along, let alone step-fathers and step-sons. I may never grasp their fierce protectiveness of the woman who stood against odds to make sure they would be safe. They want to cover and protect.
One of my sons promised me a home in the islands after his amazing voice makes it big and another told me my golden years will be of ease since I worked so hard for them early in life, that I will always have a home with them and am not alone.
It was something that made me smile in the midst of a doubting moment in my life as a work-at-home mother still raising children as a I approach my fifth decade. It made me smile as I have revamped my résumé a million times to be turned away because of race, gender, or age - disguised as fit - and left wondering if my education and experience is still worthy. The support from my sons and their reminding me that if I moved when they were little and they turned out ok, the girls will also, that a new school and a new town are not that scary if the ultimate venture is one on this life journey.
The son covered the mother and made me think of families, how connected we are through the generations. How one son, despite his mother's distance and lack of affection to them growing up, never ceases to visit his aging mother every week in her nursing home. How he gently brushes her hair and feeds her, a son's love for his mother is endless.
We come in all sizes and shapes, we have fears and doubts, some of us got the fairy tale of the husband who loved and provided for his home, never abused his position, and honored his wife as the queen of the home. Some of us got the one who was jealous of the children and abused them or the mother and then left. Some of us got the one who buried himself in his work and was emotionally detached. Some of us got the one who had a secret family and an entire other set of six kids and destroyed us in his quest to keep control of everything. Mothers and sons, wives, women have a fortitude that has endured much for the sake of family and will keep doing it because once you have borne life and birthed life, you are connected to that life forever.
I thought it was wise and brave for my son to share some thoughts with me, to admonish me, one asked me why I was trying to go back to work, why not just write, and the other reminded me that if I do go back, that my experience is worth the salary I require. They shared their minds with me and I watched our relationship shift yet again, I'm not longer their provider and protector, we are each other's counsel and adviser.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.