Yesterday afternoon my oldest son, the passionate hunter, set out to spend some time in his deer stand. Armed with a bow and a fistful of arrows contentment seemed to beam from his face. This is a kid who loves to be outdoors, at peace whenever he’s surrounded by nature.
The call came an hour or so later. “Mom, I need to talk to Dad right now.” I recognized the shaky but controlled calm in his voice. It was something I could easily recall from all these years as a hunter’s wife. It was the exact voice his father used when a deer had been hit.
Steve and Taylor exchanged a few excited words. Plans were made to retrieve the deer. The testosterone driven inhabitants of our home were giddy with excitement. Taylor told and retold the story of how in his shock of having his first real shot at a buck he had been unable to even pull back his string. Miraculously the buck had turned and given him another chance. All four manboys quickly donned camouflage gear, flashlights and one more round of arrows. Even uncle Shawn came out to join the crew. They searched late into the night. They rose early and searched all morning. The blood trail had run thin. Hope of finding the deer has now run out. A weary hunter and his son sit at the breakfast table even now exchanging only looks of dismay and disappointment as the morning sun spills across their sad faces.
I offer words like; “There will be other deer.” And “ You still have more time left before the shot gun season starts.” I fill their plates with bacon, eggs and pancakes hoping it will nourish more than their growling stomachs. But my efforts fall on deaf ears. This is a place only men are allowed. My son tells me by the look on his face to please find somewhere else to be right now.
It’s hard to be a mom of a man child. I know how little he wants to need me. I understand that this is a necessary process. But it’s hard. It’s hard to love him so much and have my efforts to be a part of his life go more than unnoticed, also unwanted.
I know it will all turn around again one day. I know he’ll get older and realize I’m not holding on anymore and he’ll be happy to spend time with me again. But for now I miss the kid who would so casually say “I love you” and call me “Mamma.” It was just last year that his arms would circle around me in a quick hug most mornings before he left for school as I stood at the sink washing away the remains of his breakfast. “Have a good day Mom.” Trailing behind him as he shoved one more piece of toast in his mouth and hoisted his backpack over his shoulder.
He’ll be seventeen in a few weeks and at 6 foot 3 he is every inch the man he so desperately wants to be. I’m not trying to hold on. Really, I’m not. It’s just that this morning as he walked up to the house, an empty handed hunter, shoulders slouched, head hung low, he was once again a little boy.
He doesn’t like the thought of that deer suffering. He can’t stand knowing it’s still out there. Somehow in the silence the men have this conversation. I can’t hear it. It’s not meant for my ears. And words… words are like shattering a glass with a rock this morning. So I slink away. I sit at my computer and I fill a blinking cursor with words they can’t hear. There’s still that sound of something shattering though. I think it’s just my mom heart…breaking. Phew… parenting can be tough!