One reason that I get sad sometimes is because my son is 14.
Fourteen and too big and grown for a mother, or at least that’s what he tells me these days.
I see him once a week if I’m lucky.
“Mom, can we skip this week? I’m really busy,” he informs me.
I usually say it’s okay because I don’t want to ruffle his feathers anymore than they already are. These days he’s like a peacock having a really bad hair day.
I get him every other weekend, but that too is subject to the whims of a 14-year-old boy.
When he was 13, he went to live with his father. I agreed to this new arrangement, knowing that if I held onto him too hard I would lose him for good.
He came home this weekend. One of the highlights occurred when we spotted a turtle in the middle of the road.
“Mom, pull over!” he shouted. “I have to save him.”
It had been a long time since I had seen him this excited.
I pulled to the side of the road and put on my hazards.
“Be careful crossing the street,” I said, unable to silence my inner mother.
He was. He was 14 after all. He picked up the turtle by the shell, carried it back to the car and placed it inside an orange bucket.
I have been carrying this just-in-case bucket in the trunk of my car ever since he was a little boy. There have always been frogs and toads and turtles and other creatures that have unexpectantly come into his life. The bucket has come in handy more times than I can enumerate.
I believe in animal totems among other things and tried to explain to my son how the turtle carried a message for him, for us.
He looked at me like I was crazy.
“Mom, we’ve lost you,” he said in a sarcastic voice that only a 14-year-old can master.
I knew not to protest. Not to try to explain the turtle sighting anymore.
But I also knew in my heart that the turtle was my sign to proceed cautiously and slowly and to have faith that in the end both of us would get to where we need to go.
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From my writer’s group session today. Prompt: One reason that I get sad sometimes is because ________________.