My son, home from college for spring break, turned 20 yesterday.  He rolls out of bed when my day is half over, rubbing his eyes and his belly, staring blankly into the refrigerator for a few minutes before deciding exactly what he will cook to fill that belly.  He’s tall and skinny, with a long shock of almost-blond hair that hangs over his green eyes until he brushes it away to see better if there are any dinner leftovers available for his noon time breakfast.  I wonder how he manages to get himself out the door to his classes at school— he keeps making the Dean’s List, so he is apparently capable enough.  And, after all, it is break.

He catches up with all of his high school buddies.  They hang around each others’ houses, mooching meals from whichever mom is at the stove at the moment.  They wait for the sun and the temperature to rise, then take off on their skateboards, whizzing down the steepest hills in our town, doing their best to evade the local police.  Skateboarding is not permitted in Rockport, except for on a few streets and the skate park.  The skate park is “lame” and I must agree with them on that point.  Not much in the way of ramps, no half-pipe, but lots of little wannabe skaters in the after school hours.  The spring break gang stays up half the night, watching goofy movies and guffawing at the big screen television and at each other.  By the time they hit the sack, I’m almost finished sleeping.

We celebrated last night with a special dinner at the birthday boy’s (okay, man’s) request:  Indian Tikka paste marinated pasture-finished sirloin tips, homemade rice pilaf, pan-seared broccoli with fresh thyme, and chocolate cake with chocolate coconut cream filling, topped with fresh whipped cream and more coconut.    My husband and kids are good eaters, adventurous and easy to please—  so I did not really mind standing outside on the back porch in the wind and the rain, hovering over the gas grill to make sure it did not blow off the porch again, especially with our dinner cooking on it.   I marinated tempeh with the Tikka paste for my vegetarian daughter and me, although I tried one small piece of steak.  Not bad, as long as it’s nice and spicy…   My son’s friend Jake pushed himself back from the table after we finished eating and declared that it was the best steak he had ever had.  My son grinned from ear to ear.  “Yeah.  My mom can cook!”  They helped clear the table and off they went, onto further birthday adventures with their buddies.

I am still reeling from the shock of it, of being the mother of a 20 year old.  It’s not hard to see my son grow up.  I expect that.  I love watching him learn life.   I love that he includes me by telling me what he does, and that he asks for my advice as he moves into adulthood.   It’s just that it seems like I was 20 myself a little while ago.   I feel pretty much the same as I did then, although I keep different hours these days.   And I believe I understand life and people a bit better than I did at 20.  One thing that is definitely still the same:  I run.  I took a long break in the middle for a while— raising “littles” takes a lot of energy and time— but it builds endurance like nothing else.  I might even be faster now than in my old barefoot- midnight- running 20’s.

Today’s run:  6.4 miles.  52 minutes.  Extremely windy, but sunshine all over the place!

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5 Comments on “20”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Happy Birthday to the Birthday Boy!! It is amazing how quickly time goes by.

  2. Pat Says:

    VERY nice piece…you think time telescopes now!!!!.the ride in Wonderland has just begun..enjoy

  3. Craig Says:

    You captured that man/boy and his lifestyle so well. How on earth did he turn 20?

    I’ve always loved those steak tips in tikka paste. You can buy it
    Or make your own.

  4. Ellen Says:

    Happy Late Birthday to “the boy”! Can’t believe he’s 20 already. Din-din sounded wonderful – especially the cake.

    • Thanks! I’ll pass it along. BTW: that was one of the best cakes I have ever made. From the Alabama Ladies’ Garden Club Desserts Cookbook. We now will have to alternate between that one and the lemon cake with lemon glaze everybody usually begs for…

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