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Meet the Girlfriend

“How would you like to meet my girlfriend, Mom?”

The words tripped off his tongue easily, but hit my ears like a jackhammer. He’s my 21-year-old, college-senior son. Okay, I know, that’s plenty old enough to have a serious girlfriend.  But I wasn’t ready to hear the word “girlfriend” spoken quite so easily. This wasn’t, after all, a high school prom date. This was college: two consenting college seniors living hours from home in two beautiful townhouses with summer jobs and money to spare. This was practically adulthood.

I wasn’t ready.

I know. You’re judging me already. To be fair to this middle-aged, not-quite-ready mom, he had dropped the bombshell a bit too casually, and waited until I drank two glasses of wine at a family wedding just a few miles from his college in Washington D.C.  I had finagled an invitation for him to be my “plus one” at the wedding because my husband couldn’t make it, and had been hoping  to snag some quality moments.

And now, here was this interloper, whom he was planning to bring to the post-wedding breakfast the next morning, to meet me along with the rest of my family.

Why didn’t I know about her sooner?  Why hadn’t either of my other two children told me about her? I was feeling very betrayed and out of the loop.

“Of course, I’d love to meet her,” I lied.

I couldn’t figure out whether to take solace in what he said next: “And by the way, Mom, when you meet her tomorrow, please act as though you’ve known about her a long time.”

“How long?” I wondered, but didn’t ask.

That would have to wait until I got home, when I could grill my daughter to find out exactly how long was a long time. (A year, I later discovered.)

In the meantime, at least he wanted to introduce me at all.  Mothers have to take comfort in such things. Meeting the girlfriend is never easy, when our sons are everything and we want to make sure they are everything to someone else as well. As I waited for her to arrive, I realized:  It can’t be much easier for her.

“Just don’t hurt him,” I wanted to say as I extended my hand across the breakfast table and introduced myself.

“I am so glad to finally meet you,” I said instead, a broad smile on my face. And this time, I wasn’t lying.

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  • Jim October 26, 2011, 9:54 am

    This is not the age card–we had ours later in life than you–but we are approaching your spot. The high school prom date was perfect. Her mother, living proof of the promise ahead, lamented: It’s so sad they met now; they would be perfect as adults. The current, a college sophmore is as perfect although still on the vine and we watch the courtship, breakup, lonely probes for forgivenes, raprochements cyle though the Facebook (while mother spends more time trawling, I do listen to the updates). My mother loved me dearly but either didn’t note nor just didn’t mention my frailties. She was fine with my youthful romances and a great friend to my wife. She was more wary with the baby, a 6 foot 4 bear whose innate resilience she seemed to miss. She was more picky with his escorts. Atlhough she passed before he wed, having just spent the weekend with the couple–his 50th birthday, a marathon of surprise galas–she would have been happy.

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