Jordan, who turns 29 today, is engaged. The boy who is my son will become the man who is her husband. The wedding is several months off but already I know one minor role I will play in this production. I will dance with my son. Knowing this son — the choice of the song will likely be mine. And knowing this Mom it’s already an obsession to get it right. That is why if you’ve seen me on the treadmill at the gym in the morning I’m crying. You can’t see my AirPods. You can’t hear the songs, but they are auditioning in my head. Each a potential finalist for The Dance with my son. Well, except for one, I tripped onto Vince Gill and Patty Loveless singing “Go Rest High on that Mountain” at George Jones’ funeral. I was bawling. On the treadmill. (If that one doesn’t make you cry you need to put an oil can on your head and grab Dorothy’s hand.)
Speaking of hearts, Jordan is the son who doesn’t wear it on his sleeve. Or anywhere that shows unless you catch him at just the right time, usually after a few drinks. But we both agree that The Dance will test our resolve to keep emotions in that space that belies truth but makes for perfect wedding pictures.
January 23, 1990
Every good mother will tell you there is something special about her firstborn. And every good son will tell you that the relationship with his Mom has a sacred space in his heart. We. Jordan and I. We share that relationship. Our dance will not be one shared in a viral video of Mom and Son doing the KiKi, Harlem Shake, and Gangnam Style - I’m not that kind of Mom. Our dance will be to a song with words that allow me to say to this young man that he is everything I ever wanted him to be. That he thrived and matured in spite of the 2+2 of parenting books equalling 5 in real life. That God’s grace and humor filled in the gaps. Being the firstborn he got the Mom with training wheels (and the best stories. 20 years later.)
I want to look in his eyes and say ‘of course I love you’ but thank him for loving me. I’m looking for the lyrics that say you turned out better than I deserve. Like the rolls I burn every Thanksgiving because I get distracted by a text. Or email. Or something I annually regret I found more important at the moment than a two-minute timer. The man he is - he achieved in spite of whole periods of time when my work took precedence and, like the rolls, I brushed the black stuff off his life and told myself he was just fine.
Happy Birthday Jordan. You have exceeded the sum of the parts given you. My love for you exceeds the sum of my ability to express it. So. I write these words. And I hunt for the song.