I have no old boyfriends. Steve was my one and only serious relationship, begun at the tender age of 16. I don’t honestly regret this situation, any more than I regret never going away to college—those rites of passage just weren’t in the cards for me. As a result, though, I’ve been very interested in these milestones for my kids. To me, it was important that they have a college experience. It was important that they have time living on their own. And yes, I’ve always felt that dating several people before settling down is generally a good thing.
However, I came to love most of my offspring’s special guys and gals. Which means, my heart has been broken numerous times over the years (often feeling more grief than the actual relationship participants) when the breakups come. Rose wisely keeps her dates under wraps, because she knows her mother. I anticipate meeting her fiancé the day of the wedding--if then. As for the rest of my brood, I’ve gotten to know many significant others, from puppy love to super-serious. I’ve served them countless dinners at our house and exchanged birthday and Christmas gifts and had them down to the beach. In several cases, I’ve become friendly with their parents as well.
And it isn’t that I want every one of them to march down the aisle just because I think their boyfriend/girlfriend is swell. I realize that feelings can ebb and flow, that sometimes my kids are the ones initiating the parting and sometimes vice-versa. And when those sad events occur, I am always available as Shoulder to Cry On, ready with the Kleenex during those tearful rehashes of what went wrong. Soon enough, my son or daughter moves on, which is totally normal. I just wish I could move on as quickly, but it takes me much more time.
Sheridan had ended a fairly long-term relationship with violinist Quan before he met Ya-Jhu, and I’m now super glad he was single when the love of his life came along. Evan had the same sweet girlfriend Kate throughout his Naval Academy years; I still keep up with her on Facebook. Julie and Stephen were together for several years on and off. Again, thankfully, she was available when Gil arrived on the scene. So deep down I believe things tend to work out for the best.
Patrick’s five year relationship with Meg ended just as the pandemic began. All of us think the world of her, and are grateful for the years she made our son so happy. Pat and Meg are both moving on, which is healthy, but there is a Meg-shaped hole in current family photos. This feeling will pass in time I’m sure, as I prepare to welcome the next young woman into our world, whenever that may be.
I wish all the exes well. Our kids are better people for having had them in their lives.
Now excuse me while I go get a tissue.