We’re driving through the stone gates of my son’s college, and I know that if I could just reach over and smooth the front of his hair, well, everything would be perfect. His sophomore year will be perfect.
I sit on my hands and take one slow breath.
I had wanted my boy to wear a polo shirt and khaki shorts. I had wanted him to take extra time with his hair. But he did not see that picture inside my head (the one that pops up like an online ad, offering the “perfect way to look” for sophomore year.) Earlier, he had put on a black T-Shirt and jeans and walked past the brush on the counter. He had stopped to pat down his hair, before getting in the car. “I’m ready.”
I take another breath.
In the front passenger seat my son is smiling and pointing, and there is light pouring out of him. A light of eagerness and promise and I-can’t-wait-to-start. I wonder if he will mind much, if I were to just smooth back that patch of hair near his forehead. I wonder if I could get away with just that.
My Mama Tiger, inside me, is pacing faster: she wants to say and do and control, just a little more. She can fix it – and, in turn, fix the next nine months – if she’s allowed just one little pat.
In these brand new days of back-to-school and the start-of-something-important, we often see right past the very people we’re nurturing. Is it Hanna Anderson, Lands End or Vineyard Vines flashing through our heads? We all have imaginary pictures, in mythical wallets, of who our kids should be, of who we need them to be.
Short moments of awareness help us see these thoughts and pictures. Returning to our breath, the feeling of our feet on the ground, bring us back into our own bodies. The thoughts aren’t helpful; the pictures aren’t real.
In the parking lot, I step out of the car and savor the spread of green lawn, the gorgeous sky. There is a white tent by the side; Resident Advisors hold room keys and forms. I want to go and meet the RA, help fill out the forms. My boy says, “I’ve got this.” I keep my feet on the asphalt and enjoy the warmth of the sun. Lay down Mama Tiger. This is his beginning, his new year