“Mom, will you take me and Ryan to Law Street?”
They wanted a ride down to Pacific Beach where they thought the bodysurfing would be better than at the beach right by our house. This was legitimate because the wave breaks are all different.
I didn’t have the time to stay and watch them. I overheard his friend asking if they could just be dropped off.
This is all new and uncomfortable. Leaving my son home alone is one thing. Leaving him at the beach with a friend unsupervised is another. I called the Professor.
“He needs some freedom. He’s a strong swimmer. It’s just an hour,” the Professor reassured.
It was time to take a risk, but I was terrified. I had worked myself up to First Born Prince either drowning or sneaking off to make out with some beach babe while he held a joint in one hand and a beer in the other.
“I don’t want him to grow up too fast,” I argued.
“He’s not going to grow up at all if you don’t let him go figure a few things out on his own,” replied the Professor who grew up in a New York nanosecond.
Ugh. I relented.
“Okay, Charlie, grab some towels, I can drop you off, but only for an hour while I…zoom to the grocery and maniacally throw food into the cart …grocery shop, then we have to hustle back home.”
They seemed a little too excited with the news. They seemed like drug addicts who just found a twenty-dollar bill.
As we pulled up to the beach access point, synchronizing our watches, I heard his friend whisper, “Did you bring it?” My son shushed him with his eyes.
My heart skipped a beat. This is it. Here we go. It’s happening. He was going to go off and do something he didn’t want me to know about. I wanted to shriek, “Bring WHAT?” I thought about parking the car down the road, and belly crawling back through the ice plant. I couldn’t believe it. How was I ever going to let go? Damn it all to hell.
I came back right at the scheduled time and watched them walk up with huge grins on their faces, my son carrying a bag. He waved it around.
“We caught a fish!”
“The waves weren’t that great so we walked down to the pier and you can rent fishing poles for $7 an hour.”
He has a new debit card that accesses his own money but he usually asks before he buys anything. I approve all purchases and acquisitions, even a burrito. He didn’t ask this time, he was testing my control, he didn’t want me to say no, he wanted to do something without asking mommy first. I wondered how much longer he’d need me.
“Mom, will you please, please cook it for us when we get home?”