The Son Also Rises look at him across the table, thinking, who is he? Who is this tall, intense, handsome, stiff, strange man sitting with me at La Provence, eating his asparagus quiche daintily as if it were made of flower pedals?

I’ve known him for more than 30 years – intimately – and I truly have not a clue who he is. It was so much easier, when he was my baby boy, and even when he was a burgeoning almost-teenager, still giving me hard hugs at night. He told me stories about his war games with his best friend back then, and his dreams of being an importer/exporter, even though he had no idea what that meant. He was chubby, with a wonderful chuckle and a dimple as wide as a dime. Continue reading

Almost Croaked the Monsieur

croque monsieur, French restaurantMy son and I plan on a mid-week lunch in the city. He texts me the day before:

“Café Claude, like before.”

Damn, I don’t remember ever lunching with him there. Am I losing brain cells?

I google Café Claude. How nice, close to the parking garage – sweet son. I click on Open Table and make a 1:15 reservation, e-mailing the confirmation to my darling boy.

I arrive at the garage at 1, noticing a text from sonny boy that says “10 min late… sorry.”

Fine by me, it’s a gorgeous day so I walk around the block for 10 minutes, then find the restaurant (weird that I don’t remember ever being here). The waiter seats me at our reserved table in this intimate French restaurant at 1:17.Cafe Claude, San Francisco dining, French restaurant

I tap my toes at 1:30.

I grind my teeth at 1:37.

I finally look at my phone at 1:40. Whoops. Two missed calls and four texts from my scatter-brained son that say:





Cafe de la Presse, San Francisco dining, French restaurantAs I read the texts, a bit befuddled, son calls. He’s angry. He’s never been to Café Claude, he’s at the other French restaurant – the one we’ve been to before. Sighing, he agrees to come find me.

I sip on my tea and breathe in, breath out.

iced tea, restaurant, San Francisco dining

I order his favorite French sandwich, so we’ll at least have time to eat before he rushes back to work.

Son arrives 7 minutes later, huffing and puffing. How could I have gotten it so wrong, he asks. I show him his text that states Café Claude. I pull up the e-mail confirmation that I’d sent him. (What did we all do, before we had cell phones to act as our witness?)

Looking a tad contrite, darling dear son announces: “Let’s say we’re both sorry and leave it at that.”

I smile at my frustrated little boy – 31, father of 3, and sweetly say, “No.”

I don’t shout.

I don’t curse.

I just slowly sip my tea from a straw.

“Okay,” silly son responds with a crooked grin. “I’m sorry.”

Then, we enjoy a delightful croquet monsieur together.