My son has been nudging me, poking at me with his behavior and mess.
Every day he leaves a greasy frying pan full of egg bits, knowing he’s breaking the rules. Dirty dishes and clutter on the counter. When he walks through my house he doesn’t walk, he tromps. Almost yelling, he talks too loud. Way too loud. He is getting on my last nerve.
I know what he’s doing. You can count on one hand the weeks he has left in this house.
It was exciting, buying his own home. Three bedrooms, two baths, and property lines marked by barbed wire. There are woods. He has already found the perfect spot for a someday fort. Not the usual first home.
He has stayed here, at my place, to help with things out of necessity. Meantime, he has saved his money, for the most part. As a momma I confess, anytime saving is brought up I tell him he could save more. He can.
It bewilders him that he can easily afford this home he has signed on.
He decided early what he wanted in a house and this one is it. It’s funny. The location is highly desired, the property in demand, and yet there it sat for six months. Waiting on him. I used to go to Bible study at that house. I told him, “That’s a good house. Plenty of praying’s been going on there for years.”
Everything worked out perfectly. Inspections, papers, appraisal, homeowner checklists, maintenance charts, budget. All that is left is the waiting.
Now he follows me into my room and sits in the chair across from mine, his form settling down into it with an odd deflation.
“It’s a big house,” he says.
“Yes, it is.”
He looks at me with those eyes. They are a bit too shiny. I do not tear up. Mother’s hearts are elastic and hold in things that are of no use at the time. I can mull this over later, take this emotion out of its gilded locked-tight box and hold it close.
I lift my head and firm my chin. In my packet of mother wisdom, I rummage around, searching for the words he needs to hear on this last leg of our present journey.
The heater kicks on, the warm air whooshing quiet dryness into the space between us.
“You know, your siblings will probably stay with you quite a bit.”
I know this is not the same.
He sighs again. It will have to do. His spine bones straighten a bit, taller in the chair.
“I was online, reading a list of what I need to buy to set up house, and it said I need coasters.” He frowns. “I’m not sure I need coasters.”
By seven months of age he had commandeered my coasters. They ended up in his mouth, gummed, sloppy with baby drool. In his hands, my coasters did more harm to tabletops than good. A favorite thing he liked to do was use them to scrape back and forth on the varnished wood. He would bang, bang, bang them against the furniture. The lovely sound made him pause, cocking his head to one side and crowing before he began again, a wonderful endless game.
A blink later, coasters were used as mini Frisbees, flying through the living room. You could put an eye out with one of those missiles. Too busy trying to keep him off the counter tops, I had little time to worry about the damage small rings of water could do. The coasters went into a drawer somewhere a long time ago.
We generally use bits of junk mail or magazines that are lying about, maybe a potholder. More than a few times, a clean sock from the laundry pile conveniently located on the couch would do. Strange how family habits take over and proper niceties are forgotten.
“Yes.” I affirm. “Grownups need coasters.”
“I’ll use a towels.”
I grunt. “You don’t have any towels, either.”
“Yes I do,” he protests, pouting. “I have two.”
I laugh, missing him already, and take today.
We’ll think about coasters tomorrow.
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