Pressing Matters

Pressing, iron, texting, mother, sonI call my son Sean on his cell phone, at work, 11 a.m.

I don’t usually call my boy during the day. After all, he works, in the big city, in a big high-financing job that I understand absolutely nothing about. I hear his explanations of investing, solar, banks, corporations, tax credit, energy, but to be perfectly honest, at banks and tax credits my brain gets fuzzy and my eyes roll back so I just nod my head and say “Ohhhh!” as if I’ve understood every fast-speaking, super-intelligent thing he’s said.

But today, I just want to hear his voice. I miss that, now that he’s not the little boy who absolutely and completely loves his mother, buying her flowers when he’s driven her close to distraction, and offering a huge smile and hug every night until he leaves for college.

My son is MINE until he meets his match, his sunshine, the chink to his armor, the woman he’s dreamed of before he ever met her — his wife.

Now he’s hers, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be, the way I want it to be.

Until I call him at 11 in the morning and he doesn’t answer his phone, and I think, “Sean doesn’t have time for me right now.”

mom, son,family,children, love

Before pressing matters.

The truth is, he doesn’t, not now that he’s married and the father of three little boys and commuting to the big city and worrying about bills and pre-schools and property taxes and how to celebrate each anniversary (at their third, he discovered the traditional gift is leather – and by god, he bought his love … a leather bracelet).  By the type of man he is, the husband he is, the father he is,  I know I did good. But I just want to hear Sean’s voice and let him be my little boy just for a minute.Please!

But five minutes after I call, I receive a text. Let me explain that I am at work myself, so I’m happy to see a text, since I really can’t take the time from work to talk then anyway – ah, the vagaries of motherhood.

But the text takes my breath away.

Here it is.


“In meetings all day. Can we talk tomorrow? Anything pressing?”


“Like an iron,” I text back angrily without thinking.

When, oh when, did I get to the point of being a person in my son’s life whom he has to find a schedule for, whom he can only talk to if it’s “pressing,” whom he…

“You’ve been married too long to dad,” he texts back.

I smile. My man is known in our family circle as a frequent (though not necessarily accomplished) person-who-puns.

I pause. Sean did text back soon after my missed call. He did make sure I was okay, then asked if we could talk later.

son, baby, family, love, mother

Sean with one of his pressing matters.

I text him a funny face  :+)  and let go of my loss.He’s still my son, but he’s not my little boy.  He still loves me, but he’s expanded his heart to love a wife, three children. He’s made a life, a family, and where do I fit in?

I’m his mom.


Illustration thanks to Pam Rubert,

20 thoughts on “Pressing Matters

  1. Thank God James is only 12… Soon to be 13 in couple of weeks. I know I will need to be understanding like you Pam. Great post! Lucky son and daughter in law to have you.


  2. Do you think we could get your darling, but distracted, son to write a Mother Memoir about you? Give him the book for Christmas, as a hint! The bio-vignette, in poetry form, that my daughter wrote depicting my character & spirit, on page 204 of the book, ends like this –
    “You are my mother
    You are within me
    In my body, in my soul

    You said, “I’m his mom. Forever.” Jennifer just turned it around.

    Keeping Spirits Alive,


    • He used to be a good writer – when he had time. When my boy was in college, we started to co-author a book of fiction together. Just lasted a few chapters, but was sooo much fun. Yes, maybe in 10 years or so, he’ll be ready to write a chapter for your 3rd edition of The Mother Memoir!! The poem your daughter wrote is beautiful. xo


  3. Your thoughts are resonating with me here – my son moved with his wife 1,000 miles away almost a year ago, when they used to live a mile down the road. We went to visit in April and he came here earlier this month, but my heart still aches for him to be closer. This morning he sent me an email about some new computer wizard courses he is taking – way over my head – but I was so HAPPY he took the time to tell me all about what is important to him.

    It must be fun, though, that you have three grandsons to love now!!!


  4. Amen, sister Mom! Even though mine’s still at home, I miss the little boy who thought a picnic in the park with his mom was the best thing to do on a sunny day like today. Sigh. Your boy sounds like a gem!


  5. That’s kind of the way I feel about my daughter, sometimes, especially now that I’m a grandmother. I want to see my girl more often but her life is busy and so is mine. Squeezing in time for each other is tough.

    Despite the distance between you and your son, it sounds like you have a special relationship that will transcend time. 🙂


    • Just doesn’t seem right, though, that our lives revolved around our children, and now life revolves around our too busy time to be with family. But yes, that is the evolution of a family….


  6. This is so beautiful; it brought tears to my eyes. I have a four-year-old little boy. I can only imagine when he becomes too busy for hugs and kisses and “snuggle time,” which is currently a very coveted and much-treasured thing. My mother-in-law says she’s happy now because, though she feels she’s lost her baby son, she’s gained a daughter, something she never had before. We get along famously, of course. 🙂 Hope you have a similarly good relationship with his sweet wife. (And I must admit, I laughed at the leather bracelet!) 🙂


    • The ultimate compliment – to affect a reader emotionally. Of course, though, I cried when I WROTE this piece! Yes, I love my daughter-in-law and we get along really well – which is such a joy. Glad you are the same with your mom-in-law – that shows real love for her son!


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