Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Nostalgia for Everything

I stole this title from a favorite short essay by Andrei Codrescu.
The reason I am feeling nostalgia is that Son is 15, and as I peruse photographs of Christmas past I miss the us we were. Now we are not an us, now we are a me and a him.
I know this is a stage of life one must pass through, just as one must go through all the symptoms and illness of the flu before one can recover from it. Yes, adolescence is an illness, mostly for the parents.
The difficulty of this stage of his life surprises me. I was (somewhat) prepared for the difficulty of the younger years. They call them the Terrible Twos! But so much of that was difficult physically. Chasing after the little demon as he tried to put all the poisonous and electrical things in his mouth. Staying up late, getting up early when he developed his very own sleeping schedule that ignored the laws of nature and light. Being exhausted is just part of the deal.
But now the exhaustion is of a psychological nature. Son spends most of his time ignoring me, or slowly pushing the door closed as I try to talk to him. In all ways he is creating and drawing attention to the chasm between us. For him, I'm sure, this is healthy and all part of the process. For the mother, of course, it is painful.
So I find pictures of us when he was five and he has his arm around me and a crooked grin on his face. I sift through memories for moments with him. Watching TV. Listening to him watch Looney Tunes in the basement while he laughed hysterically, the day I was walking with him across a store parking lot, holding his hand, and I had the wherewithal to think, "Remember this. His little hand." And I did, so much so that I can feel the shape of his tiny hand in mine.
Those days are gone, my friends, and I think (a lot, actually) that our best days are behind us. I know there will be good times in the future, but when? The future, as always, is uncertain.
I'm sure there is a Buddhist way to make peace with all of this.
He is a wonderful person, and I'm sure that at some unspecified time in the future he will be able to admit that he likes me again.
But until then, Oy!
So I have nostalgia for everything. For the him he was and the me I was. For Christmases when we could buy him toys and coloring books. For the time when he *wanted* to make cookies with me. For the time when I didn't swear at him every day. (I'm a bad mom. I know.)
At the same time, I'm aware that in the future, two years perhaps, when he's away at college and the house is a tad-bit emptier, that I will have nostalgia for this time, when he ignored me and when I could observe, every day, tiny glimpses into the man he will become.
Damn. Being a Mom is hard.


Ann said...

Wow. You have captured this transition so perfectly. I love that phrase--"it used to be us." Says it all right there.

I'm happy to see you blogging. I am also happy to report that this state of affairs changes for the better.

Dr Write said...

You always give me hope Ann Cannon.

radagast said...

Beautifully heartbreaking, DW.

Lisa B. said...

I loved this. I am in Massachusetts with my son, my youngest. Before I left I had a brief breakdown where I thought--said aloud--I know my son loves me, but I don't think he likes me very much. It's an ebb and flow, and also? it's imperfect, like all human relationships. But as Ann says: it does change for the better, and the trend looks good for you, if I do say so myself, because he's still willing to be around you (a sentiment I know I have bludgeoned you with in the past). Love to you, mom. You're a great mom, and don't you forget it.

Nik said...

It IS hard to be a mom. Zoe's only 11 and already I look at her like, are you still a kid. My kid? And then she is again but I can imagine how those agains happen further and further apart.

Renaissance Girl said...

I'm with you. I mean, literally, I am right there at the same stage that you are. With Ann Cannon I affirm this bit: "Now we are not an us, now we are a me and a him."