Sunday, December 10, 2023

Notes From The Parking Lot

I'm sitting in my car, in the parking lot across from the arena. I think the cost to park here was $27.00. Outrageous, but I paid it anyway. I want him to know where I am when the show is over, and this was the closest place I could find to park that has a direct sidewalk from the exit door. Technically, he has my Life360, so he could track me down even if I parked a mile away, but why risk it?

There's half of a personal pizza in a greasy box on the dash. I'm gonna be here a couple more hours, so I'll finish it off before I get to head back home. There's a spiral notebook beside me- I'm trying to make a grocery list, but I can't focus. My Kindle is on the seat next to me. I was going to use this time to catch up on a great book since I always complain about never having time, but I'm not doing that either. I can hear the music seeping out from the walls of the arena across the street. My baby is in there, him and 25,000 other people. I wonder, is anyone else's mom doing the same thing as me tonight?

We're in such a weird place, this boy and me. Right on the edge of adulthood, but not quite there just yet. His after-school job, which works him like a 40-year-old father of three, supplies him with more than enough money to buy these concert tickets to see his favorite rapper. But, I was the one who bought these tickets. All the way up in the nosebleed section, and still, way more than I would ever pay for concert tickets for myself. He didn't even ask to go to the concert, and if he didn't waste all his money on stupid 17-year-old crap, he could have easily gotten floor seats if he wanted to come.

But no, I got the tickets for him, and gave them to him out of nowhere. Christmas is in 23 days; they would have made a great gift. But, no, I just wanted him to get to come here. He's always stressed, always mad, always quiet. Around me, anyway. Not to his friends or his coworkers, who I guess are one and the same these days. I just wanted to make him happy. Like the old days, when he would get a toy from the cheap toy aisle after his doctor's appointment, or a 50 cent McDonald's ice cream cone when he got a shot.

He doesn't have a license yet, so I had to drive him here. Even if he did have a license, and a car, I wouldn't let him drive in this stupid downtown traffic anyway. We live an hour away, so it's pointless for me to go home and come back. I guess I could go shopping, but I don't want to be that far away from him. Just in case. So I sit.

Motherhood used to be so much about doing. Now it seems to be just about sitting. Sitting here, now. Sitting in the parking lot at his job. Sitting in the driveways of friends' houses, or the parking lot of the movies. Sitting in the kitchen, waiting for him to get home. It's almost like my active participation in this raising a boy task is over. I never dreamed there would be so much sitting.

I thought this part of parenting would be when it got easy. They don't need you so much anymore, and your presence most of the time is just a technicality. You have to be there to do the driving, sign the paper, or pay the fee. But other than that, you aren't really needed. And a lot of the time, it doesn't feel like you're really wanted either. It's a whole different struggle, one that I don't have any flowery words of wisdom to write down here about, nothing to pass on to you to guide you through it.

For now, I'm just going to continue to sit. Wherever and whenever I can, I will be here, sitting and waiting for my boy.

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