Having babies is a great idea, until you realize that they are real people. My real people are pretty much grown up now, and this is not where I say “but they will always be my babies.” Of course, in some way, they are still my babies. Big, tall, hairy, manly babies.
My real people were born in different years but all within four weeks of each other, which means every year we have birthday season. We’re in it right now as a matter of fact. For nearly two decades I enjoyed the yin-yang of it – expensive…and celebratory. And I thought this year would be no different.
But the first rule of parenting is to give up the rosy glow, because guess what, real people do what they want to do regardless of their parents hopes, dreams and expectations. We’ve had a lot of years to adjust-abhor-accept that, but it’s still not easy when birthday and holiday season roll around. Why? Because this year my real people made plans of their own. And worse – without even telling me until I had already ordered the cake.
Me to Real Person who is actually permanently moving “home” soon:
“Hey how about you drive down for a long birthday weekend before you move back, and we can celebrate your birthday and get your car registered, get your classes and financial aid all situated, and find you an apartment.”
(The middle child real person is transferring to a college near home to finish his senior year. Hooray! Although I better not have any hopes, dreams or expectations that his being around the corner will grant me free access.)
Real Person: “Um, no, I can’t. I’m going to a festival.”
Me: “What festival?”
Real Person: “Electric Forest.”
Me – while quickly googling Electric Forest festival:
“Oh wow sounds like fun, but how did you get time off from apple?” Wait… hold up… “It’s half-way across the country?!?” What?!? (I have to admit it looks pretty cool.)
“Oh yea Mom, it’s in Michigan. Don’t worry, I’m not driving and I’ll only be gone 5 days.”
Ok, the kid is going to be 22 this year, but this is my baby. (Big, tall, hairy, manly baby.) He is going to an outdoor music festival – in the forest – and there’s more – working the festival to get free food and camping space – with a group of his friends. My son camps?
Wow. I don’t know how I feel about this. Um, Happy Birthday.
My youngest did not utilize the shock and awe factor, he just decided on his 17th he would go out to dinner with friends and afterward to do whatever they wanted until he got home by 11pm. He told me the day before his birthday that this was his plan.
Oh ok. <sigh> Happy birthday.
Not sure what is in store for the oldest yet, we are still only part-way through birthday season. But I bet it will involve his girlfriend, and I don’t know if we’ll be part of the plan. I’m so proud of this kid, he will be 24 and finds his own way every day. I have such a soft-spot for this one that I will be totally fine with whatever he decides. (Can we get that in writing?)
I’m actually proud of all of them, and my soft-spot is pretty big. Like them. Big, real people.
It’s ok, I still ordered the cake. And yep, enjoyed every bite.