Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: When You Meet Your Adult Child for the First Time #SOL19 #TWTBlog
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Slice of Life: When You Meet Your Adult Child for the First Time #SOL19 #TWTBlog

My phone vibrates.  I look to see who it is.  My son Jack.  He hasn’t called us without request since we dropped him off at college in September.  I am in a meeting.  His problem.  I hit decline. 

When I get in the car after my meeting, I listen to his message. He is coming to Boston to fly to a tournament for his ultimate frisbee team. 

Hey, I will have like two hours in Boston before I fly out.  Should I come home?  Will you be there?  We could eat.

Interesting.  I text him back.

Sure.  When will you be here?  Just you?  Friends are welcome.  What do you want to eat?

3:00.  Just me.  Chinese.

I look at my watch.

Great.  See you then.

I recalculate my day in my head. And set off to make it all happen. 

I arrive home with minutes to spare, Chinese food in hand.  I let the dog out.  Set the table, grab the t-shirt I bought him on our ski trip, and make sure I have a selection of his favorite drinks. 

Whew, pulled it off.  I begin unpacking my work bag and I hear the door open.  He is a sight for sore eyes.  I never realize how much I miss him until I see him.  He accepts my hug and even lingers a second longer than usual.

I got Chinese food.  Are you hungry?

Starving. We wanted to make our last class, so we drove straight through without getting food.

I lead him to the table where I have it all set out.  He grabs a plate and goes to dig in.  Suddenly he stops.  He retracts his fork.  He turns to meet my gaze.

Shoot.  I forgot.  I don’t eat red meat.  Cow farts are bad for the environment.

Thanks Beth Moore for providing my mentor text.

I think he noticed my silence.  I am not one to be at a loss for words.  My inside the head voice is going strong!

I am not a vegetarian. It is just red meat and pork.  It really is a problem.  Do you know about it?

He fills his plate with all the non-red meat options as he explains why cow farts are bad for the environment.  I try to listen to and comprehend his very scientific explanation and can’t help but remember the boy would be giggling over cow farts.  How has time passed so quickly?  When did he become a citizen with concerns for our world?  What kind of place transformed the mind of my logical, STEM brain child?  I quiet the voice in my mind to open space to welcome his words and get to know my adult son. 

There is nothing more humbling and gratifying than sending your child off into the world and respecting them more when they return.  Parenting is a journey.  Trusting the process and embracing the ups and downs.  Every tantrum, obsession and quirk that makes no sense at the time will develop into a part of who they will become.  As teachers and parents, we need to stop trying to pave the way, heading off every possible disappointment or failure.  We need to celebrate the hard moments as much as the victorious moments.  It is all these moments that create us and define us but only if we honor the beauty within them.

And Mom, we had this speaker this month? She was incredible.  Her name is Nadia Murad.  She won the Nobel peace prize this fall?  Have you heard of her? I think you would really like her – there is a video of her talk on the website.  She talked ….

He goes on and I am in awe of the man sitting in front of me.


Thank you to Beth Moore for the inspiration for this post. Here is the mentor text I used: http://elizabeth-moore.com/solsc/2019/3/8/bedtime-routine-solsc-day-8

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    Elisabeth Ellington
    Posted at 14:15h, 10 March Reply

    Another beautifully written piece, Clare. It is hard to trust the journey when there are so many unknowns and so many variables, but this piece gives me hope!

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    Posted at 14:22h, 10 March Reply

    Our son stopped in for a short visit this weekend too. He’s out of school and has a career. It’s wonderful to see how our children turn into well adjusted adults.

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    Celia Fisher
    Posted at 14:27h, 10 March Reply

    Yes it is a journey, you just have to trust that what you’ve done as a parent will set them on the right path and then stand back….Lovely slice, I have to admit not eating red meat because of cow farts is something I wouldn’t expect from either of my sons….!

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    Sharon Gubser
    Posted at 14:38h, 10 March Reply

    As I read your slice, I smiled. I have the same experience whenever I talk to my adult son these days. I realized it the day he was digging through my refrigerator looking for something to eat and said, “What do you have that’s healthy?” I thought, “who is this man?”

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    Posted at 14:42h, 10 March Reply

    This made my heart happy. I have a brother named Jack who is also very science -minded and this reminded me a lot of him. It’s so weird as a sibling seeing the little snot-nosed boy grow up into a man with ideas and theories and scientific evidence….I can only imagine how the weirdness is amplified for a parent.

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    Lisa Corbett
    Posted at 15:11h, 10 March Reply

    I can’t even imagine my children as adults. I’m excited about it and nervous about it.

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    Adrienne Bransfield
    Posted at 15:30h, 10 March Reply

    “Parenting is a journey. Trusting the process and embracing the ups and downs. Every tantrum, obsession and quirk that makes no sense at the time will develop into a part of who they will become. ” I love this … I am currently trying to figure out my 13 year old daughter and the things that make no sense at all. You are right … this is part of who she will become. I needed the reminder to stop obsessing over every little thing and be excited about the person she is.

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    Karen Szymusiak
    Posted at 16:12h, 10 March Reply

    While it’s hard sometimes to watch our children grow up, there is so much satisfaction in recognizing the adults they have become. I have a son and a daughter who have taken very different paths to adulthood but I find pleasure in who they both have become. It’s definitely a process that happens over time. Enjoy the ride!

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    Fran mccrackin
    Posted at 16:20h, 10 March Reply

    You captured an important moment! Wouldn’t it be fun to share it with your son when (if) he becomes a father to a young adult?!

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    Amanda Regan
    Posted at 16:24h, 10 March Reply

    This is beautiful! I love your reflections on parenting. My older son is a junior in high school, and while I’m nervous about sending him off into the world beyond my reach, your slice makes me look forward to getting to know the man he someday will be.

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    Amanda Potts
    Posted at 16:51h, 10 March Reply

    Oh! This made me smile. I hope I will someday have the grace to listen when my then-adult children tell me how they are growing and changing. Also, the sketch of you is priceless.

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    Posted at 16:52h, 10 March Reply

    I love this post, but it also terrifies me. I’m nowhere close to ready for my teenage son to be an adult. I want him to laugh about cow farts!

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    Posted at 17:24h, 10 March Reply

    Reading this Slice makes me think forward about my own five year old son — who will he be someday? Thanks you for sharing! (And I love your comic!)

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    Diane Dougherty
    Posted at 17:56h, 10 March Reply

    Your title grabbed me. We parents are continually “meeting” our children. They change. They grow. They are works in progress, as we all are I suppose.
    I love the dialogue here.

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    Posted at 19:38h, 10 March Reply

    I enjoyed reading your slice. I am always happy when my adult daughters come home. The conversations are different than before. We have not talked about cow fart though. The latest we have talked about is how to reduce the use of plastic and what is the situation in current politics (we just had parliament elections.)

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    Grace Hilsmier
    Posted at 21:24h, 10 March Reply

    So sweet of him to spend his two hours with you instead of his buddies, too! I’m glad you got to have some quality time.

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    Sarah J. Donovan
    Posted at 22:25h, 10 March Reply

    I love the present tense in the moment-to-moment description. It is so effective in bringing us into the experience with you! Cow farts. Cow farts. Indeed.

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    Christine Baldiga
    Posted at 22:53h, 10 March Reply

    Blink – he grew up – much like when we sent our toddlers off for their first haircuts and suddenly right before our eyes they are transformed.
    Be proud of the man he has become! It didn’t happen without loving and guiding hands!

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    Leigh Anne Eck
    Posted at 23:00h, 10 March Reply

    Yes, parenting is a journey. Mine is graduating college is April. Today he was filling out a job application…not sure I am ready for this part of the journey.

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    Peg Bruno
    Posted at 23:11h, 10 March Reply

    I absolutely love everything about this. From your anticipation of the request… to your preparation for his arrival… and then the ‘new learning’ about him. Transformations are amazing and you captured his beautifully.

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    Paula Bourque
    Posted at 00:09h, 11 March Reply

    Clare…I feel this post soooo much! I am always so curious about what she is learning and becoming when Bailey comes home. It’s so wonderful to see them transform into adulthood. I’ve loved every stage of development, even this.

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    Melanie Meehan
    Posted at 00:55h, 11 March Reply

    Love your comic, love the insights, love the fact that you dropped everything and figured out how to have Chinese food ready as well as his favorite drinks, and laughed at the transformation. Sounds like he’s doing exactly what he should be doing in college! And you’re doing exactly what a mom should be doing as well, even though it’s hard to keep those inside voices quiet.

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    Lisa Keeler
    Posted at 02:10h, 11 March Reply

    Oh wow. There is so much to love here. Your writing. This moment. Your instincts. Your son growing up. It is such a leap when we send our children out into the world…

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    Mandy Robek
    Posted at 10:56h, 11 March Reply

    I love this whole story and the thought that stuck with me the most was – you don’t realize how much you miss them until you see them. I think we get going with our day and those stretch to weeks and then a greater force stops you to appreciate what you have covered up in an effort to keep going.

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    Posted at 11:18h, 17 March Reply

    Clare, I wanted to stop by to see how things were going. I was drawn to this post and not a bit disappointed. There was so much truth in this line, “There is nothing more humbling and gratifying than sending your child off into the world and respecting them more when they return.” I remember when the kids were just starting to find mobility as babies and, at the same time, beginning to discover words had power. I loved watching their personalities unfold. It seems college is a lot like this. It is interesting to watch the way new people, interesting coursework, and different opportunities shape them. I call them my twenty-somethings, but I do enjoy watching them find their way in the world. It sounds like you are in that beautiful space. Enjoy!

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