I bought my son a waffle maker.
It dawned on me that whenever we stay in hotels my son always looks forward to the breakfast buffet. He happily fills his plate with heaping portions of eggs, potatoes, fruit and pastries. He relishes going back for seconds and even thirds. But he especially loves making his own waffles. Pouring in the thick batter, flipping the machine and waiting for the timer to signal that his warm, golden waffle is ready to eat.
So this summer I bought my son a waffle maker. And whipped cream, milk chocolate morsels, cinnamon and maple syrup to add delicious decadence to those waffles.
This summer I’ve also done endless loads of laundry. I’ve expanded my cooking repertoire to include dishes my son mentioned he enjoys eating at college. I make his bed every day. I make sure my son’s room is tidy and his bathroom is clean. I’ve replaced ALL the toilet paper rolls. I even wake him up for work every morning so he doesn’t need to use an alarm clock while he’s home from school.
I’m not particularly proud of these things. I am well aware my nineteen-year-old son is more than capable of completing these tasks on his own. In fact, he took excellent care of himself for a year in college, hundreds of miles away from home.
But somehow his being away at school and then returning home for the summer created the perfect storm. He was tired of adulting. And I was tired of missing him.
So I do all the things. All the things I hope will make him happy.
All the things I hope will make him want to come home.
Because my son is old enough to choose whether or not he comes back to us. And this boy of mine has a sense of adventure. He loves to try new things, see new places. I’ve already witnessed how easy it was for him to leave—to pack up eight bulging blue IKEA bags, one set of flimsy plastic drawers, and set out for a new city far from the sleepy suburb he’s known all his life.
I’m not a betting person. And I don’t like taking risks. I’m calculating that if I love him enough, if I do enough, he’ll want to come back. He’ll try to stay close. I know it seems illogical. I’m well aware there are no guarantees in life. But, I have no cards left to play. And the stakes are too high to leave anything to chance.
So against my better judgement, I’m going to continue doing all I can to be the mom my son wants to come home to. The mom who loves and cares for him well.
The mom who will be here, counting the days until he returns.