Archive | March, 2012

Just the Two of Us

2 Mar

My handsome son smiles self-consciously at me as we approach the front door of the restaurant he has selected for our dinner together. Gallantly stepping forward, he opens the door for me with just the tiniest hint of teenaged awkwardness. Already, I could tell that this would be a night to remember.

He and I have been looking forward to this dinner. Just the two of us. It’s a tradition that began a few years ago with my oldest son. You see, it’s all about height. When each of my sons becomes taller than I am, I take him out for a special dinner. Seems there’s something significant about no longer looking down when speaking with a child, or even looking eye-to-eye. When a mother has to look up in order to speak with her child, a transition worthy of acknowledgment has taken place.

At this coming-of-age dinner, we talk about things like how a gentleman should open the door for a lady. We review concepts such as the proper use of a napkin and how it’s usually a good idea to chew with your mouth closed. We discuss how it’s not the best of manners to lick your fingers in a nice restaurant, even if you are eating really good coconut prawns dipped in pineapple sauce.

But mostly this special dinner is all about fun. It’s about celebrating the life of a child who is growing up. It’s about letting him know how proud I am of him as he makes the transition from child to adult.

As I watch my son enjoying his dinner, I feel a powerful sense of thanksgiving for the privilege of being this child’s mother. And my thoughts drift. I wonder what life would be like for him now if I had not survived.

A few years ago, following my very first mammogram, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was invasive and we had not caught it early. My son, a master architect of Lego star ships, was nine years old when he found out his mom had cancer. At the time, he had been devastated by the possibility that I might have lost my hair. He couldn’t even begin to comprehend that he might have lost his mother.

Such a happy and lighthearted boy, how would he have been affected by the death of his mother? Would my husband have remarried by now? Would the new step-mother ever be able to love my children as I have loved them?

My son starts to wipe his mouth on his sleeve, then quickly grabs his napkin instead and dabs at his chin. As our eyes meet across the table, he smiles. And I am reminded that life after cancer is a gift.

The child I once held in my arms now weighs more than I do. The little boy who at one time reached up to hold my hand is now taller than I will ever be. Being a part of his life still brings me the greatest of joy.


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Although this was first posted a year or two ago, I had a special request to re-post it today.