My son and his girlfriend are visiting for a few days. Although they’ve been together now for almost two years ( I think?) I feel I don’t really know her that well.
I remember when he went on his first date with her, at the time he was 22 and living with me. We were mid / between some form of lockdown (the Covid early days now merge into one big blur of dates, restrictions, washing shopping and overreacting to every cough). Meeting outside at a distance was permissible at this time.
My son is a lovely, quiet soul, very introverted, very clever and a deep thinker. Sometimes its hard to know where ‘he’s at’, as he shares very little. But he is a great critical thinker when I have a problem.
I was washing up at the time, he walked into the room saying, in a serious tone ‘ I have something to tell you’. I turned from the sink, I was worried, and my mind raced with, ‘what I have done wrong’ thoughts.. I quickly concluded nothing, and was all ears so to speak. (Its worrying that I went straight to the defensive). He began to speak, ‘I’m going to meet a girl, and I’m only telling you because of Covid……
I relaxed, inside I smiled, on the outside I was trying to keep a neutral response. I was excited for him, impressed he’d told me, but knew if I overreacted in any way he would bottle up. He had never spoken to me about any girls before, this was a big moment. Of course there was a slight risk in meeting someone new at this time, but I was just so pleased for him. I always thought it would be so good for him to have someone else who was ‘there for him’. I always worried that our divorce had deeply affected him, and I am unlikely to ever know the answer to this, as he doesn’t want to discuss it, and I respect his choice.
And then nothing happened.
Because of Covid, work etc they didn’t meet for weeks. Eventually they did, he said it was fine, on date two he showed me a picture, she looked nice, very petite I remember thinking. Then nothing happened again for a few weeks. I was worried it was over, but he seemed fine and eventually after a bit of stop and starting, it seemed to settle into once, twice then three times a week. Versions of Covid continuing, and with my own work and house selling and moving dramas the months passed, they continued dating and I didn’t know much, but the main thing he seemed fine. He seemed slightly happier – it was lovely to see.
The big reveal happened on his birthday. I was to meet her over a meal. I had my hair cut that morning, I needed to look good as ‘his mum’, I dressed up and bit and met them there. I didn’t really have time to be nervous, but I knew he would be and all I wanted was for it to go well, and of course I wanted to like the new GF. My daughter had already met her, they’d been to his dads for tea. It upset me a bit that the dad ‘he’ had got to meet her first, but I knew this was genuinely more about circumstance – at the time I was houseless.
It went well, we were only together for about 90 mins, but I was happy. So different to perhaps what I had expected, but sweet, caring, clearly intelligent ( she would have to be) and most impressively of all she knew a lot about me and our family. And before you think this is slightly narcissistic, I should add – for me this showed they talked and shared and that’s what I loved, it felt like he was trying to connect her to his past and family, and that she wanted this connection, and that felt so good.
Fast forward two years…. and they’re still together….. phew but yet I worry more…
Yes they look happy and close, but is what they have strong enough to weather the storms, the trials of love. I ended up in a messy divorce, from a relationship that everyone felt was so great, we were told we had an ‘energy’, that we had something special, that people just knew we’d get married. And we did and we had 20 good years, before the intense pain. I love my son so much, so deeply, at times it hurts… and as a mother I have an instinct to protect which I guess I’ll take to the grave with me.
I’m reminded of the wise words a friend gave me shortly after my daughter was born. ‘There’s always something to worry about with kids, in 6 weeks this current ‘big issue’ will pass and something new will rear its head’, be that nappy rash, not sleeping, not eating, not walking etc , and now it seems to be ‘protecting his heart’.
This ‘homily’ has got me through the years and got me through my own life. I guess I need to refocus on this, enjoy what they have at the moment and the luxury of having time with them….
I’m now trying to shove my worrying gene, back down in its bag and get up and sort breakfast ……………