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Silver Linings—For My “BFF”

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Obsessing about the pros and cons of relocation has become an avocation for me. I have lists of lists that are in my head and on my computer. One of the most wonderful items on the “Pros” list began, not as a result of my relocating, but as a precursor to it . . .

When my husband moved to start his new job in Boston over a year ago, our son Alex had just graduated from college. With no job offer on the table, and no money in the bank, it was understood that Alex would be moving back home until either of those things changed. The prospect of having to deal with this living arrangement scared me. I love Alex to death, but our relationship all throughout high school and some of college was pretty rocky. We butted heads more often than a cage full of rams, and there were many moments filled with tears (mostly mine), heartbreak (mine again), and challenges to my intestinal fortitude. As Alex matured, and as I learned to back off, the agita-inducing moments became less and less frequent. We now had a good relationship and I was a little concerned that being together again for such concentrated periods after being apart for so long would upset what we had built the past few years.


For the first few months, my younger son, Will, was home from college. Once he left, Alex and I began to fall into “roommate mode.” When the clothes in his room and the mess in his bathroom became too much for me to bear, we “discussed” it. And when I came home in a not-so-great mood that “spoiled the atmosphere,” we discussed it. There were many “discussions” throughout the year, but not too many of them were heated. We bobbed and weaved and played the roommate/mother-son dance, and eventually fell into a rhythm that worked for us. Moments of laughter far outweighed moments of tension.


My younger son, Will, was home with us from college for the first few months and once he left, Alex and I began to fall into “roommate mode.” When the clothes in his room and the mess in his bathroom became too much for me to bear, we “discussed” it. And when I came home in a not-so-great mood that “spoiled the atmosphere,” we discussed it. There were many “discussions” throughout the year, but not too many of them were heated. We bobbed and weaved and played the roommate/mother-son dance, and eventually fell into a rhythm that worked for us. Moments of laughter far outweighed moments of tension.


I am not much of a TV watcher, but Alex is, and we spent many an evening watching what had become “our shows,” Shameless, Friday Night Lights (the final episode hit us hard), and I’m embarrassed to say, Jersey Shore. We would eat dinner (yes, I still had to cook dinner) together quite often and even caught a movie every once in a while. We became sounding boards for each other, and more and more I realized that my son the social director, the party animal with the very LARGE personality was also a very intelligent, thoughtful, and insightful young man. What developed over the course of the twelve months was a surprising friendship and an appreciation for each other that we might never have gotten had we not had that one-on-one time together.


Eventually Alex got a job, and an apartment of his own. He’s where he’s supposed to be—a single guy living the high life in Hollywood. Soon after I moved across the country and went back to where I’m supposed to be—with my true roommate for life. If I didn’t know better, I would think that someone out there had purposely planned for Alex and I to have that time together. Time to get reacquainted. Now our conversations are the result of us understanding each other in a more meaningful way. We have a history—an adult history, that not many mothers and sons get the opportunity to have. I cherish the memories of that period in our lives, and I hope Alex does as well.

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