Golden Gate Bridge, traveling, mother/sonThe city sparkles after a rain storm, so if you have a chance, drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, around noon, when a Pacific Ocean storm has just blown through the Gate, Marin County, and the mountains beyond with gale force winds and driving, ravenous rain.

By 9 a.m., after a noisy storm-riddled night, the air is clear and fresh; white and gray puffy clouds dot the sky.  Some thunder tries to roll over Mt. Tam and Mt. Diablo, but then it sighs slowly, giving in to springtime optimism.

Like me, flying out of the office at noon and racing over the Golden Gate Bridge to meet my 30-year-old son, once my ‘hard child,’ as hard as sleet on soft green grass.

I was the grass.grass, family, mother/son

Sometimes he mowed me down when he was a child and teenager, with his sharp edges and relentless questions. “Why can’t I play paint ball on a school day?” “Why do we have to stay home during school vacation?” “Why do I have to study when I get good grades anyway?” “Why do you always say NO?”

Soft grass was I back then, roughening to a weed-like texture with his bombardment of whys.

So why, now, am I soaring over the San Francisco Bay in anticipation of meeting that same son for lunch?

The day brightens with every mile I travel; the city looms ahead like a white Oz, all new and gleaming and magical. The streets stretch smoothly ahead of me, leading me down Lombard, up Van Ness, over Broadway, and then right on the Embarcadero.

My son calls three times, checking on my progress, assuring himself that I’m coming, that Marin County hasn’t gobbled me up in my activities of work and walking, writing and wearing out by mid-afternoon.

No, No, I insist through my handless cell phone speaker. “I’m on Front Street; I’m parking; I’m walking toward you…”


And my ‘hard’ child, the one who has loved me like an old man loves his 80-year-old wife, the son who charmed me with flowers when he was 10 while I was still gritting my teeth over his demands – that son now waits for me with a trimmed beard highlighting his welcoming smile, his dimple hidden by the thick brown hair, his lips touching my cheek lightly, softly, as he whispers,

“Hi Mom.”

Oz, beautiful city, San Francisco

27 thoughts on “IT’S ALL GOLDEN

  1. Hi Pammy – I loved this – and just think – all those “whys” and all your patience {?} brought up such a wonderful husband and such a good daddy!!


  2. Now, after that beautiful sharing of yours, I’d like to know if you met the Wizard? If so, was it rewarding, frightening, or just what you’d always imagined?


  3. I think the wizard was at work, since when I made the comment above, it went right into your blog without going through a pat-down. Nice.


  4. Wow. I love this. I have an 18 month old son. I was trying to flash forward twenty years or so when reading this, wondering how he will be.

    I love the grass metaphor –My eldest is twelve and I already feel like crabgrass! 🙂


  5. Your writing SPARKLES! Every time I pause by the hearth of your blog, I am impressed with your creative talent. Of course, I have a 30 year old son, too, so it’s easy to relate. However, your words remind me more of my daughter. She was so hard to raise at times. She was sooo challenging.


  6. Pam, I felt your exhilaration, driving toward your boy. Even if the storm hit while on that bridge, you would still strive to meet him, study his face, glow in that sweet kiss. Being with adult kids is a gift no matter what the weather, how long the drive – spending that time is so special. I can still see Sean as a young boy (and btw, he was always sweet as sugar!). I don’t know where the years go, but I can see how “why” is the smartest question a person can ask. Why do we want our kids to go to bed and have some peace and quiet and then crave every second of being with them when we can no longer live together? Why didn’t we hold them a little longer and kiss them a little more because now they don’t fit in our laps! I had one of those special times two days ago, with son#2. Wonderful story Pam! Your heart is showing!


    • Me and my kevelling, huh? But I like your point about how, when the kids were little, we couldn’t wait to have some time to ourselves, and now, we crave more time with the adult child. I guess the most important point is that our love only deepens in time, no matter our age, or our child’s.


      • You are so right…and, we will always kvell over our kids, it never stops (and of course, our grandkidlets as well!). Unfortunately, we will always worry over them, comes with the kvelling!


  7. Oh.
    Mine aren’t out of the nest yet, but one day (I’ll probably be 80, since I’m an older parent) I hope my hard child will greet me as happily as this.
    What a lovely word picture you’ve painted here. Thanks for this.


  8. Loved this Pam. As another mother of a “hard child”, I think the headaches and heartaches they gave us as teens makes it sweeter when they grow into someone we actually like.


  9. I’d like to suggest that you played a role in the development of your “hard” child into a golden man. I never heard you describe hime as “hard” when he was little. In fact, I always felt that you saw in him (in both your children) unique individuals who had important things to say. I think they felt this and that is what has allowed them to become the sweet and thoughtful grownups that they are now.


    • I hope you’re absolutely right. And yes, good parenting is rejoicing in the wholeness of a child – hard and soft, funny and maddening, smart and frustrating, sweet and yes, sometimes a bit sour. And always, always unique. That’s what makes parenting so challenging and fun and rewarding. Thank you for the great comment!


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