When I Imagined Life as a Grown-Up

When I was a teenager, I pictured myself as a war correspondent, or a world traveler doing research for National Geographic, or if my best friend got to be the first woman President, then maybe ambassador to Ireland or Secretary of State. Whatever I was going to do, adulthood looked exciting and glamorous.

I certainly did not picture myself alone in my car, parked outside of a local late night hangout, waiting in the dark for my thirteen-year-old son’s Mary Poppins’ cast party to end.

The party, orchestrated by the fifteen-year-old girls in the play, was at the Village Inn, where you can get French fries, mac-n-cheese, or chocolate chip pancakes at any time of day. Its parking lot at night – somewhat quiet, only slightly sketchy.

As I tried to stay awake. watching the rare coming and going – two old men in polo shirts, tattooed twenty-somethings holding hands, three baggy-jeaned teens looking to stay out of trouble (I hoped) – I suddenly saw a more realistic view of my life as my son passes through the pre-driving-but-starting-to-be-social years.

“Mom, can I go to the football game tonight?”

“There’s a party at my friend’s house tonight.”

“Mom, all my friends are going to see the new Star Wars movie tonight.”

“I can’t wait for the dance tonight!”

Many more late nights in parking lots waiting as his life begins to look like a big adventure. And I was so proud and excited for him.

When I was at my first cast party, I couldn’t have known that that feeling would be better than the glamorous life I imagined.

The Not So Invisible Mom

My teenager needed his black dress pants dry cleaned before playing Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins this week. So after dropping him off at Drama Camp, then driving his brothers to morning swim practice, I raced back to our neighborhood dry cleaner, picked up the pants, and drove them back to Drama Camp.

There were kids in the hallway working on a dance routine, but he was not with them. So I quietly opened the heavy door to the auditorium, and he headed up the stairs from the stage.

“Thanks.”

“How’s it going?” I whispered.

“Fine.” By then we were in the small vestibule between auditorium and hallway, separated from his fellow thespians on both sides.

“You go first,” he said.

“What?”

“You go first,” he waved me toward the door, sheepishly grinning. “I don’t want anyone to know you’re my mom.”

So of course I stepped out of the vestibule, counted exactly five seconds after the door closed, and watched him come through the door at exactly five. Then, as he registered that I was still there, I stuck my tongue out at him and trounced out the door.

He laughed. Not sure about the young chimney sweeps behind him.