Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Bittersweet Birthday

Son had expected us to insure, register, and pick up his truck at his fathers Monday morning. A one-track teenage mind didn't understand the concept of having to go to work or school when there was something so much more important to do. He felt his ticket to freedom slipping from his hands.

Patience has never been his strong suit.

I left work a little early and picked him up to go to the insurance company. "Do you think we'll make it to the registry in time?" He was a man on a mission and little things like my gas gauge being on empty became tremendous hurdles fate had thrown in his path.

I paid his insurance in full for the year and informed him he would have to get a job immediately and start paying it off. The only reason I was able to do that was because I finally received the SSDI dependent benefits. A substantial amount that has helped bail me out of not receiving any child support for over a year.

We made the registry at 4:35 (they close at 5). The worry wort was relieved when overhearing a conversation that if we make it through the door before 5, we could complete our transactions.

He kissed the license plates when they were handed to him. I could almost see right through his head because of the deep dimples created by the permagrin on his face. He started floating off the floor at that point.

I thought he would come out of his skin on the drive to NH. "I'm so happy!" is all he could keep saying. Freedom was within sight. The freedom of having his own transportation, of thinking he could come and go as he pleased, the freedom of not having to depend on Mom to go where he wanted. What memories that brought back to me.

I chatted with his father while he affixed the plates and, within a half hour, I entered the next stage of parenthood. The helpless, precious child brought into this world 17 years ago was driving solo, in his own truck, for the first time.

I couldn't deny it anymore. The boy I have given everything to, for half my life, is growing up and away from me.

We weren't even on the highway before he yelled out the window that his speedometer didn't work. I had to laugh. More memories came flooding back. That ticket to freedom comes with a heavy price. The innocence of childhood is suddenly replaced with the responsibility of adulthood.

It's a one way threshold every teenager races towards, and by the time we realize being an adult isn't as much fun as we thought it would be; it's too late. There's no going back. I felt the final twinge of pain, as the umbilical I had meticulously tried to maintain was severed.

None of these thoughts could dampen the happiness I felt for my son. The first thing he wanted to do was drive to Nana & Grampa's.

That's when a wave of sadness so enormous washed over me. My Father should have been here to see this day. He should have been here to laugh with delight over the knowledge that I will finally comprehend what I had put them both through when I got my first car.

Son followed me off the exit to get to my parents house. All the times we have driven that route and he never paid attention enough to learn it for himself. It was indeed a big new world to him. I left him on his own and drove home alone.

Mom was picking fresh Asparagus from the garden, when son startled her with his arrival. He couldn't wait for Nana to ask where I was, he blurted out that he was there alone. "You took your Mother's car?!" "No, I have my own truck!"

He beamed with pride as he showed off for his Nana and Great-Grandmother, then he had to ask for directions to visit a friend at work. I hope he develops a better sense of direction than his Mother!

Son didn't finally arrive home until 8:30PM. He was wound up tighter than a drum. It was 9:30 when he asked if he could drive me around the block, since I had never been in his truck.

I told him how happy I was for him between hiccuping sobs. "You've gotten such a raw deal your whole life baby, I'm so happy for you. I just want you to be careful and understand the responsibility that comes with this...and I wish Grampa was here to enjoy this with you".

He was so grown up, especially when he was trying to console his bawling Mother.


KFarmer said...

OMG- what memories you woke. I still can see my son driving off and thinking- I'll never see that kid boy has grown up and left me. Yes, I bawled like a two year old too- Take heart dear one, a wonderful adventure is just around the corner for you.

Suldog said...

That's a swell story, Sharfa. You hit just the right emotional chord, too. Of course, you were just being honest and all, and that usually does it.

Sharfa said...

K - by adventure you mean rescuing my stranded son when his truck breaks down, right? ;)

Jim - Thank you so much. I tried hard to find the words to convey the tumult of emotions. It's been tough lately, blogging about it has a cathartic affect.

KFarmer said...

Ha! Once you get over the shock of it all- you will notice a freedom you now have :) Well that and going to pick him up from time to time .. lol.. I picked mine up from all kinds of interesting places, ahem. (hee hee hee:)See, I can even giggle about it now.. ;)