On my lunch hour I crossed the river and purchased a big green bow befitting a car. They only had green, I guess since St. Patty’s Day was around the corner, but that was fine since the boy’s car was red, green seemed a natural choice.
I left work an hour early with the intention of going home to put the bow on the car and then picking the boy up and bringing him home. When I got home, however, he informed me that he was not done with his chores and needed me to wait to pick him up. That was hard on me and his brother since we’d been waiting for five days! But we waited a half an hour before he texted me he was ready.
He told me, when I picked him up, he was planning to go to a party later that evening, a Project-X-type party that was being held the next town over with an anticipated attendance of at least 500 kids. I asked him if that was code for him asking to use my car and he assured me it was not. He wasn’t driving, he was catching a ride with some of his friends. [The party never actually happened since teenagers talk a lot and the police were alerted and put an end to the party before it even began].
As we crested the hill on my street he saw the car with the bow on it. He said “someone must be getting a car as a gift.” I said, “yea, kind of looks like that.” But that was it. Just as quickly as he said it, he forgot it. I backed into my driveway and he got out and grabbed his stuff from the trunk.
“We’re going right to dinner, right?” He asked.
“Yes” was my simple reply.
His brother was waiting inside the house ready to go, which was odd, because he’s never ready and waiting, but the boy didn’t notice. I asked if he would drive and he gave me an exasperated sigh and said “okay, I’ll drive.” I handed him my car keys and he handed me his door keys so I could lock the front door.
As I was locking the door I said “oh, wait, I gave you the wrong keys.”
“You got different keys?”
“Yea, I did.”
I finished locking the door and then handed him the keys to his car.
“Why don’t you drive your car, instead of mine” and I pointed to the car with the bow across the street.
He looked at me, smiled, looked at the car, looked back at me and just came and put his arms around me. He hugged me for probably 5 minutes straight, never losing the grip. My kid is big, 6’2”, 280 lbs. It was a bear hug and it was pretty spectacular. He was surprised, and he was happy. My joy realized.
We did get a couple of pictures, but he asked me not to post them because he thinks he looks goofy. He’s right. He does. But it’s an honest goofy look, that I will cherish always.
As we drove to dinner he asked me questions.
“Why did you buy me a car?”
“Can I take it to Dad’s when I leave on Sunday?”
“What about the insurance?”
He finally said, “Mom, don’t think that I’m ungrateful, I just think I’m in shock, but I’m really, really grateful and really, really happy.”
He was like a little child and it warmed my heart. He’s been taller than me for the last 5 years, but moments like this are so good to remind me that he’s still my little boy and always will be, regardless of his age, or size.
We laughed a lot during dinner and he sent a bazillion texts to all of his friends to let them know he had a car now. He didn’t post anything on Facebook though, since that would have alerted his father and he didn’t want to do that. Not yet.
It was a good weekend. He was gone a lot, which was fine since younger brother was sick and needed to stay in.
When Sunday arrived it made me sad, just a little, to hear him say “I still don’t know how I’m going to tell dad I got a car.” I reminded him that while his father’s anger and reactions were unpredictable he would get over it, probably rather quickly, when he realized how good it was for him, so he shouldn’t worry too much.
The boy admitted that as worried as he may truly be, he didn’t care. Whatever Dad’s reaction, it would pass, and once he’d reached the other side of that hurricane he would still have a car.
His last words to me on Sunday?
“I love you, Mom. Thank you!”
That, and the look on his face, will surely carry me for at least the two weeks until I see him again.
Worth it. Totally worth it.