First-Born Son recently went with his GF's family on their annual vacation to the Outer Banks. He was gone for almost two weeks and he barely called the whole time.
I know, I know; he's 22, I'm expecting too much. Damn straight!
Apparently cell phone service was difficult to come by. "Have you ever heard of a pay phone?" I asked. "I don't suppose you looked for one of those?"
"A pay phone?" Even through the phone I could hear him shaking his head, albeit with great affection. "You're funny Mom."
Well, I thought, anything to entertain.
He went on to tell me what a great time they were having. How wonderfully he was getting along with the family. Everyone was taking turns cooking dinner and it was his turn that night. He had to get off the phone so he and the GF could go food shopping.
I was happy for him, really I was. Yet at the same time microscopic pinpricks of jealousy jabbed at my heart.
He liked their family better than ours. He wanted to be with them more than us.
I envisioned us, years down the road, me begging him to come visit. So I could see him, see my grandchildren. Him patiently explaining that they had "other plans."
You don't have to tell me I'm a big fat irrational baby; I've got it. But I can't help it.
"It's the potato-chips-on-the-beach-blanket all over again," The Ex said, when I confessed my petty complaint.
He was right.
It's always been like this with First-Born Son. When we brought him to the beach as a baby, we couldn't keep him on our beach blanket. He'd crawl off across the sand to someone else's. Someone with a better blanket, one offering oreos or potato chips.
"Oh, you can leave him here. Please, " people would say when we tried to retrieve him. "We love having him."
That's always been the problem. Everyone loves having him. He's everyone's friend. The life of the party.
So it's not as though I haven't had lots of practice sharing him with the world over the years. Whether I wanted to or not.
But he's so seldom home these days. And even when he's here, he's not really here. His heart is in NYC. With his friends, his work in film school, his beloved GF.
As it should be.
There will always be another beach blanket to crawl off to. One with better chips than we could possibly ever have. I know that.
But it doesn't mean I have to like it.