Recently I had the pleasure of meeting my son’s mother for the first time.
You have no idea how long I’ve waited to use that line. (OK, 33 years.) My older son, Rory — the blond blue-eyed one who looks like me as opposed to my biological son who bears no resemblance to me at all — was finally able to meet his birth mother, Erika, and introduced her to the rest of the family soon after.
This was definitely a Locator moment. Erika cried, I cried. Erika is a lovely warm sweet person, the long-awaited missing link. She also comes with a duplicate in the form of an identical twin. Our grandson, Elliott, is trying to sort out this Guinness Book of World Records of grandmas: me, Nana (his maternal grandmother), Grandma Jean (my former husband’s wife), and now Oma Erika and Oma Twin. Even Rory says he is going into hiding on Mother’s Day this May.Hopefully, 1-800-Flowers has a multi-mother discount.
I know this was closure for Rory to finally meet Erika but it was for me as well. I’ve always felt a strong connection to Erika, my forever-16 year old silent partner and sine qua non co-mom. I’ve thought about her thousands of times, although I have to confess that the first 950 were in the form of “Who spawned this child?????” From his earliest days, Rory was a handful, quite possibly the most diabolically creative child (and prankster) ever to be unleashed on this planet.
The Rory stories are so plentiful and varied — like a terrorist, he never repeated anything twice — that they are just referred to in family shorthand: “The Cleveland Airport crisis” (he was just faking the seizure), “the Mom’s office fiasco” (the campus police dropped charges), “the Chinese restaurant disaster” (we felt compelled to leave a 70 percent tip), and yes, even “the Bomb Squad debacle” (in Rory’s defense, the HazMat guys should have realized right away it wasn’t a real bomb BEFORE they cordoned off the area).
As Olof always said, “Rory looks for excitement. And finds it.”
I actually chronicled many of these incidents which now have considerable entertainment value but which at the time I was planning to use as my defense. Because there were at least 200 occasions when the 20 years in prison would have been worth bludgeoning that kid to death.
Of course, I didn’t tell Erika that. Or that if I sent Rory to his room, he’d open up both his windows and whack on his bed with a tennis racket shrieking “Please don’t beat me, Mommy!” Or worse: “No, no, don’t touch me there!” (Those stranger awareness classes in grade school were perfect fodder for someone of Rory’s creativity.)
His handmade Mother’s Day card the year he was 10 read: “You’ve been like a mother to me.”
So among my burning questions to Erika were: “Were you into practical jokes? Embarrassing your family in public? Getting social services to call your parents?”
No, she said, puzzled. Why? She did admit, however, to being a “total handful,” the despair of her mother. OK, so there’s definitely a “handful” gene going on here.
Rory is now a happily married successful professional and a total love. He still likes to keep his hand in the pranks just for old time’s sake, most recently appropriating the library card number taped to my computer and ordering me up a long list of books including a guide to coping with hemorrhoids and colitis and another on the intricacies (graphically illustrated) of lesbian sex. Actually, they all turned out to be really educational reading; I sent him a book report on every one.
I made it one of my life goals to live long enough for Rory to have a son. And he does. But Elliott, at four (an age by which Rory had long exhibited holy terror tendencies) is the sweetest easiest kid imaginable. It is so totally unfair. But Rory recently had a daughter. I’m trying to imagine a female Rory. And the possibilities are totally delicious.
Reach Inga at firstname.lastname@example.org.