I’ve mentioned my girls several times during this challenge. Easy to do: they are college students still living at home. They figure in my daily slices of life. My son, however, graduated college in 2010 and rents a house in town with his boyfriend and a couple of housemates. He visits every few weeks, but we just don’t have that daily contact anymore now that he is an independent adult–and of course, that’s a good thing!
I miss him sometimes, but mostly I just love him. On days like today, when we all end up hanging out together, there is a special appreciation for the time we have to spend in each other’s company. Our family attended a screening of a film at SXSW, a documentary that covered an issue my son has been actively engaged in. In fact, he is in a few scenes of the movie. I was proud of his activism at the time, and of the fact that he had enough courage of conviction to devote weeks of his life to volunteer for a cause he believed in. Today I was all the more proud as I watched that work be presented in a larger context on a movie screen in a venue as significant as this film festival can be.
Have I mentioned I love my boy? I used to spend time worrying that he wasn’t using his college degree, wasn’t trying to find a career job that paid benefits and required the more groomed, 9-5 discipline my friends’ kids have achieved post-college. I confess that I am mother to a new age hippie…a sun-worshipping, smiling, bronze Adonis of a kid who wants to office in the great outdoors. He works hard…at gardening. And landscape design. And block-walking for a political cause. And writing his poetry or speeches or blog posts while sitting under a tree. And calling his many friends, networking for the next action or just giving support in personal relationships.
My son is living his authentic life, and no one else’s. I had to let go of my expectations for him. His life is his, and I’ve come to appreciate that it’s rich in many ways.
His life is one of community organizing, organic gardening, and bicycle riding. It’s one of friendship making, good book reading, and mindfulness seeking. It’s a life in which he plants and harvests vegetables not only in his own backyard, but in the backyard of the elderly woman next door so that she can have “her own garden.” It’s a life in which he is always studying, always learning, always searching for ways to better himself and the world around him.
Yes, I was proud of my boy today as we met the people with whom he fostered relationships of respect and lasting friendship during that very difficult time covered in the documentary. His choices and politics are not always mine, but they don’t have to be. My child has integrity and courage. He has a good heart. I’m not going to ask for more.