No, I haven’t gotten married. And even if I had, the name would have stayed the same. That being said, for the last couple of weeks I have been silently referring to myself as Mrs. Crosby.
“What’s crazy-making about this pull-back in time is the math.”
Mrs. Crosby is my ex-mother-in-law. She is the woman who I met for the first time in my early 20s as the “mother of my boyfriend.” I remember feeling a bout of nervous energy — desperately wanting her to like me. Her son was uber-important to me and it was pretty clear from the onset that this mama’s boy cared deeply about what his mother thought of me.
What’s crazy-making about this pull-back in time is the math. I calculated — and trust me no good came from this exercise in addition and subtraction. In my brain I remember meeting a kind, serene but formidable woman, and legitimately old. But it turns out that when I met her as the “son’s girlfriend,” Mrs. Crosby was a mere 47. Yup, when I realized this my brain practically melted into an incredulous pool of “WTF?” How could that be possible? Let the record reflect that I am currently 57. Ouch.
Well now, it’s my turn to be Mrs. Crosby.
My son has an important new person in his life. I had the privilege to share time with her a couple of weeks ago.
How did this come to be?
Judge me all you want but I am so desperate to spend any time with my college-aged son that I willingly and happily forked over hundreds of dollars for tickets for us to see Andy Grammer and Hugh Jackman in New York City on a random weekend in February.
Do we live in New York City? No.
Is my son in the middle of his spring semester his Freshman year? Yes.
Is this irresponsible parenting? Maybe.
But I don’t care. I believe that part of staying engaged in this world to the very end is to continuously be curious and open to new ideas, art forms, and expressions. Having younger people in your life really aids in that endeavor. It turns out that it can be a huge perk of having children, unbeknownst to me for most of my child-rearing years.
Time On Campus:
I digress. The Andy Grammer concert at the Beacon was on a Friday. So I needed to fetch my kid from his no-car-on-campus ass prior so that we could travel together out of our local airport.
But first we decided I would spend the evening in his college town, go to dinner, perhaps meet his new friends — and one special friend in particular.
My son is in a “label-less” relationship with a young woman at his university. The relationship is prescribed label-less by the participants, FYI. I don’t make the rules, I just nod placidly at them with an inward knowing smirk.
A Quick Call Made:
“I found myself a bit nervous in the days leading up to my coffee date with my son’s young lady.”
Interestingly enough, I found myself a bit nervous in the days leading up to my coffee date with my son’s young lady. I decided to phone my ex-mother-in-law. The fact that I can ring Carol even though I am no longer married to her son says it all. Gracious and loving throughout my marriage to her son, she still treats me with kindness today. The intention of my call was two-fold. First, I wanted to let her know that I appreciated her as a mother-in-law and that I was grateful for the modeling she provided for over 15 years. Secondly, and it turns out this one was critical, I wanted some advice on how to approach the situation.
Luckily for me, Carol offered up her sage advice without my asking. “Ask a lot of questions,” she said. “Let her do most of the talking.”
Was I successful? To be honest, I don’t know. I can be really good at asking questions and keeping quiet. Yes, I understand that may be difficult for those of you who know me to believe, but it’s true. Honestly, the actual event is a bit blurred in my memory as I was diligently working on my likability quotient and for all I know I didn’t stop talking and asked zero questions.
And that begs the question: Am I ready to be a Mrs. Crosby? How is it that I feel too young, too inexperienced, too young (did I mention that one already?) to be the wise older matron?
All I can hope is that in another 30 years or so that my son’s label-less young lady will look back on me fondly and as a standard to live up to — and not as the nervous crazy old woman who wouldn’t shut up.