My son moved into his very own place. He rented a charming, cozy, clean one bedroom beach cottage that was built in 1935. It’s beautiful. A find such as this is nearly impossible in any west coast beach community. He looked and looked at different places for 4 long months until he found just what he wanted. Last weekend I was thrilled to drive the 40 miles south to his new sanctuary. His shangrila. Upon my arrival I asked him to please let me know what I may do to help. (I told myself, “Don’t step over boundaries Julie, this is your son’s new home!”) I was energized by my happiness for him as I quickly helped him unpack the kitchen boxes and wipe out the cupboards. Everything felt incredibly right and comfortable. I followed his direction and only asked if I could make a suggestion before I offered it. (pretty good, eh?) Feeling the moment of the day, I knew it was a sweet memory in the making. I was walking on air, yet, quieted by the significance of the milestone day. Aware of every feeling, fragrance, color and breeze through an open window – everything in alignment with Son’s universe as far as this ol’ proud mom could tell. What a blessing. He had been saving his money and working hard for this to happen. The kitchen looked good and son Tyler said he was hungry. He grabbed his list and off we went on errands.
The fact that Tyler landed in the beach town that he and I had lived in once long ago warmed my heart. He was only 15 months old when we left his father and moved to this same beach city only two blocks away from Tyler’s new home. We had lived there for about 6 years. (We then moved away, another hour south, when he was about 7.) That was 18 years ago. And here I find myself back where it all started for me as a single mother. The place I got sober when Tyler was only 2 years old . . . . . As Tyler drove us on his errands, my mind blasted off and started to think on its own. Have we gone full circle? What does this mean? Did Tyler love it here when he was little or was it just a coincidence? Was it meant to be? And most importantly – have I done enough in raising my son?! Is he as happy and comfortable in his own skin as he appears to be? Did I miss anything? I wanted to ask him all of these questions so intensely. I usually feel quite confident as a mother, but on this milestone moving day, I needed to double check. I longed to say to him, “Are you ok Son?! Are you happy?!” but, no, no, no. I kept my thoughts to myself. I learned long ago to not bombard my son with the questions that I longed to hear from my own parents when I was young. Be present Julie. Enjoy the moment Julie. Enjoy the ride. It is Tyler’s day. But how do I really know if I was a good sober mom? I mean, he did seem happy and free today. So, what was up with me? When will I know for sure, once more, that I have done enough to teach my child now that he is out on his own? I said a prayer to quiet my over active, sober yet alkie, mind. Intuitively I knew I would remember and feel that I did a good job raising him and all is well. I felt something would happen as a sign so I could regain my confidence. And my confidence comes from “my God of my own understanding” and then goes directly to my heart. It is not my son’s job to give me my confidence as his mother. We had finished the errands and some how I kept my thoughts to myself as he drove us back to his new home. He walked me to my car and gave me a big bear hug good bye. “Thanks Mom!” He smiled. It was all perfect.
We waved good bye to each other as I drove down his new street. My flash flood of giving my self my own inquisition had subsided. I took a short detour to drive past our old place. I felt awesome! As I reached the end of our old street and sat at the intersection waiting for the light to change, I noticed the cars flying by right in front of me. That’s when it all came back. I did indeed receive the sign of reassurance that I was longing for earlier in the day! And the crazy thing was that it was just that – a “sign”! I looked up at the traffic light and saw the street sign, “Ocean Dr.” It jogged my memory – something I did during my first year sober 22 years ago for Tyler, plus our community – at that time there was not a street signal. The intersection was a busy street with a blind crest in the road, so when Tyler and I went on our walks and attempted to cross the boulevard, there were many frightening moments in the cross walk as the cars came flying down the hill towards us. Many times pedestrians would step off the curb into the cross walk, but then step back again for fear of the speeding cars. I had had enough one day and I marched right into city hall and told the person at the front desk it was time the city put in a traffic light on Ocean Dr! It was dangerous! There I learned I had to write-up a petition and get about 600 signatures. I became incredibly determined. I was never with out my clip board and petition! Day after day – signature after signature. Tyler and I also stood at that corner asking neighbors to please sign as they attempted to cross the challenging street. It took a while – but I did it. I made an appointment at city hall and presented my stack of signatures as I gave a short speech on safety. It all came together and the city finally put up that much needed signal at the intersection! That was an important day for me as a sober and single parent. I believed in something and saw it through to the end.
So yes, I got to be reminded that perhaps I have done enough as a mother and I will never, ever, stop. My son, now a grown man, presently is living two blocks up from this traffic light, “our” traffic light. He says he was too little to remember when all this happened. But I remember. And now, he will be more safe as he uses this signal just about every day, maybe some days even twice a day. I am proud to say, I had the sober mind and body to do something about it, 22 years ago. I did not realize, that I have made a positive difference in the community my son now lives in today. My blessings are abundant.