At midnight I picked up my son from the transit station. He was wearing a floppy toque, vans and a plaid shirt. He was also carrying a "man-bag" which only weeks before he had teased his dad about wearing one. He got in the car and at my look replied "it's convenient." With great restraint I held my tongue. This is the same son that at four was Peter Pan in a velour green outfit. A month later he transformed into Captain Hook with the hat, feather and black coat. By the time he was eight he was just a pirate - with a red bandana and often a striped shirt and patch over one eye.
Not many months ago, when Mik was in hospital, the boy was dressed in knee high army boots, ratty jeans that had not been washed in months. It was a grunge stage resplendent with a mop of curly, dirty red hair on the top and shaved on the sides. His skin looked sallow - not from lack of fresh food, but lack of soap. This same son insisted I leave to get sleep, and though he values it as much as I do, wanted to stay the night with his baby sister, just to be with her.
Why would I be surprised that he has now become bohemian or a hippy....or even preppy. His older sister predicted it all. When he was in the grunge stage, where being around him meant holding your nose, she predicted his next phase. "Mom, I am sure in a month or two he will probably wear an argyle sweater and have his hair waxed.
I have yet to see him in argyle, but he does have the waxed hair, neatly combed. He has button up shirts, Vans in the style of boat shoes, and he smell great.
These phases have sometimes been a challenge for me. "Is your head shaved as a statement?' I would ask innocently. "Does playing the Banjo means you are switching to country?" We have flowed with it all. The smells, the hair, the attitudes, the health kicks, the punching bag, running, omelette making, fancy sandwiches, the spouting of facts, the spouting of crap. He has certainly made our walk interesting. Through it all, he has been himself. He is not a chameleon....in fact I believe these seasons are in synchrony with who he is becoming.
I have always loved my son. His impish grin, his teasing, his quick wit and his soft heart. I am aware at how much I also like my son for these same reasons, and for not being scared to embrace something that he may have judged before. He is humble enough to admit when he has been wrong.
He is planning on leaving the nest soon. For good. He is excited, nervous and planning. He has his list of needs. The shock when I saw "new sheets, duvet," on it were equal to his abstention from alcohol recently.
I am just wondering what the next phase will look like now.