Eighteen years.

Wednesday is a milestone here. Eighteen years have passed since he was lifted from me, blue and squawking. The squawking was a good sign, the blue not so much. I’m sure the anaesthesiologist must have bumped up the Versed because I didn’t even feel all that alarmed that they rushed him out of there.  He pinked up pretty quickly, was found to be clear of any manner of congenital birth defect. The obstetrician waved off the “blueness” as something that sometimes happens to babies at high altitude.

Julian was born in the Year of the Dog, he is a native of Montana, he is half-Chinese and half-European. It took me five days to decide on his name. He is six-foot two and I think he might still have another inch or two to go. He is brilliant and stubborn and kind. Like too many of his peers, he is a little over-subscribed to gadgets and virtual living. This too will pass, they will soon be mere tools. He’s at University now, majoring in Classical Humanities with a minor in cello.

He is, by far, the best thing I’ve ever done.

I have at times, as the years rolled by, despaired at his obsessions with Pokemon, Legos, Star Wars, Runescape, Minecraft and Marvel comics. I got so fed up with picking dirty socks up off the floor that I finally gave up. He’s very good at doing his own laundry now. I had hoped that he might share my affinity for horses and dogs and while he does  . . . sort of, the dogs anyway, we joke that he’ll have an apartment in a high-rise with wall-to-wall white carpet and no pets.

He has been an excellent traveling companion and together we’ve been to every state in the continental U.S. except Vermont. I don’t know how we missed that really. We went to Graceland when he was eight years old, and happen to land there on the madness the 25th anniversary of Elvis’ death. He’s been to hockey rinks in British Columbia and stood at the stern rail of the Ocracoke ferry. He helped me get up when I tripped and fell at Ground Zero, and he ate hot dogs instead of lobster in New Brunswick. Julian was ten when we went to New Orleans and he decided he’d rather stay in the hotel room and watch cartoons with the dog than see the city. He did concede to lunch out at Antoine’s. He can (and will) recite the genealogy of the Roman Emperors.

He is funny and charming, and occasionally just a wee tad lazy. I know that he is not alone in his penchant to go to bed early in the morning and sleep into the afternoon. He likes Chinese food but will not eat spaghetti sauce.

When he was four, he went missing in the Bozeman Wal-Mart. I refused to buy him stickers and he went off in a huff. At first he just couldn’t be found. We paged him. They alerted the staff to be on the lookout for him. They announced to everyone in the store that he was missing. They locked the doors. I remember standing there wondering when we should call the police, and realizing that if we needed to call the police, it was already too late. A man came up to me and said “Are you the  mother?” I just nodded.

“I think he’s over here.”

And he was, over there, hiding in a rack of clothing. The man had taken a seat in the shoe department and from there could see Julian’s  little legs sticking out beneath the clothes. I hugged him, I cried, I tried to be stern. We checked out and went home. He went on having the occasional meltdown in Wal-Mart (particularly when we wouldn’t buy the Star Wars figure he just had to have– “but Mom it’s the green captain!”), but he never hid again.

So after tomorrow he’ll be a legal adult. Well, except for beer. I’m grateful that he still lives at home, and I will miss him a lot when he really does decide to leave the nest. I hope that he makes for himself a life that is interesting and stimulating, and it would be okay if it paid well too– though really happiness is more important than money. I hope he throws his lot in with someone who truly appreciates him, and I hope he is able to steer clear of the manipulative and the conniving. I hope that he and his Dad will continue to build on the things that bind them together and let go of that which drives them both crazy. I hope he learns to drive without cracking up the car.

I think I’ve been a pretty good mom, I know he has been a stellar boy. Better, really, than I could have dared hope.

Target today 70 Steps(still no clip) 2385

Breakfast: yogurt with granola. Lunch: beef burrito, lemonade slushie  Dinner: boiled shrimp, raw peppers, frozen yogurt



2 thoughts on “Eighteen years.

  1. Love the picture! Such a content Mom. Great article. Well said, in so many ways. You wish, you want and you care. You are very fortunate to have him with you, as he goes to college. Yes, someday he will fly from the nest. He’ll be more than ready, thanks to you. Whether you will or not, well, time will tell. What a scary time that had to be when he was lost in Wal-Mart! I’m sure my parents said that we were always testing them. You’ve passed with flying colors. I’m sure you’re proud and you indeed should be.

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