Son’s Birthday, Mom’s Milestone

Father and son, 6 August 1985

Father and son, 6 August 1985


There’s a first time for everything, and I know we have to let our children grow up.

Today is my son’s 24th birthday. He’ll celebrate it with his girlfriend in Washington, D.C., where he lives and works.

This time last year he was home in Sydney, and we talked then about the possibility Christmas 2008 would be the first time we wouldn’t be together for the holidays. I missed him last Christmas, and I miss him today.

In global families, on certain days the distance is more in your face than others. During my son’s college years, I was lucky he always happened to be home for his birthday, falling as it does in the U.S. summer. The last birthday I had at my mother’s home was when I turned 17. Once children leave for college, most parents get used to them not being home for their birthdays.

Regardless of where we are physically, my son and I remain close, and I have thousands of happy memories of his growing-up years.

Monet's Garden at Giverny, France, 1992

Monet's Garden at Giverny, France, 1992

I’ve been doing pretty well with this empty-nest-after-college situation, when there’s no more semester calendar, no more holiday breaks, no more ‘guaranteed’ trips home. We’ve seen my son four times in the past year, when we’ve been in the U.S., and that has been wonderful.

Today he’s right where he should be, spending the day with his girlfriend, who’s been working in Washington, D.C. herself and soon returns to law school. I’m so happy she’s with him, and I know they’ll have a wonderful day.

How quickly they grow up, May 2009

How quickly they grow up, May 2009

Still, it’s another first for Mom, another step in life’s process.

Cheers to you, G, and Happy Birthday.

9 Responses

  1. Oh….I know exactly how you feel. Last year was the first time I missed being with my daughter Miranda for her birthday. She turned 21 and although I called her from Switzerland where John and I were walking the TMB, it just wasn’t the same as being there. This Christmas will be the first one without her since she was born and I know it will be very hard for me. I know we have to let go, but it really isn’t an easy thing to do.

  2. I know the feeling Carolyn..I remember the first birthday my eldest son wasn’t around, he had joined the Royal Air Force, I remember the first christmas…..

    but I think the worst of all was when neither of my sons could make it….It was a few christmasses ago, when the eldest had got married and she wanted the 1st to be in their house, and my other son, it was their turn to go to her parents..

    Happy Birthday to your son, he will have a brilliant time with his girlfriend, 🙂 He looks like you 🙂

  3. My daughter is going to senior school for the first time in September and I am trying to slow the summer down as much as possible. I was desperate to grow up as a teen and I SWORE I would never be one of ‘those’ parents but here I am. I got tears in my eyes reading this post! I would never let my daughter see though, I don’t want her to ever feel she can’t fly because of her mum’s emotions. Handsome son, by the way!

  4. My nest has been empty for some time now. I only get back to the States once a year or so and don’t get to see two of my children and grandchildren then. Hard to be international sometimes.

  5. Carolyn
    Please send our families best wishes to G when you are speaking to him. I don’t know how you do it Carolyn…thank goodness I have quite a few years left of my boys celebrating their birthdays at home. I’m sure G will also miss his gorgeous mum who brought him into the world on this special day.

  6. Hi Carolyn,
    Awwwh, what a touching post 🙂
    I’m happy to see the photos of your son, and to learn a little about him. That first picture is so precious ! Glad to see that your son also knows France.

    Each expat could write many many words on the subject of distance and families.I do not have the fortune to have children, but I have a mother and 2 siblings in the States. I wish a lot of things, but know that having chosen my destiny, I have to live with the down sides.
    Remedy… go see Mom & the family in the future. We shall try…

    Cheers to you both !

  7. Happy Birthday to your son. What a good looking guy! You are so sweet to be happy for the love in his life. Too many moms are jealous rather than appreciating there is a good woman in their son’s life! (my mom is a little bit this way although my mother-in-law, thankfully, is NOT).

    You and Gary gave him such good grounding, and now he’s out there putting all you taught him to the test. I know you’re so proud of him, and rightfully so!

  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    I have always felt children’s birthdays are just as much for the parents as the child. Every year when my daughter has a birthday, I recall the day she was born. It was a bright, clear, warm and very sunny October day. Every time she has a birthday it is very bittersweet for me.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post about being at Woodstock. You painted a very realistic picture of the event as I have imagined it – though I was not there.

    I recall Joni Mitchell was there but I do not know if she appeared with CSN or on her own. Of course she is famous for the song. I thought I would have seen her name on the program. Interesting.

  9. Thanks for the wonderful comments, everyone. I appreciate the great understanding.

    Elizabeth, glad you survived the first birthday away from your daughter and I send all good thoughts your way for your first Christmas apart.

    Anne, that must have been tough with both sons gone. Hope one or both will be with you this year!

    Michelle, so true about not wanting to be one of ‘those’ parents! Good luck with the approach of senior school, to your daughter and especially to her mum 🙂

    Linda, you’re a great role model for being international. It is definitely hard sometimes.

    MrsChipndale, thanks for your kind comment. It’s so wonderful to see a young mum who already appreciates how precious the growing-up years are. Your two boys are lucky.

    Barb, I agree about choosing our destiny and that includes the down side as well as all the positive aspects. Hope you get to see your dear mother and family sooner rather than later.

    Kim, of course your mother-in-law appreciates you – she knows her son is a very lucky guy!!

    Russell, ‘bittersweet’ is a great word – that really captures the feeling of our children growing up.

    Cheers all.

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