I've been spending a lot a lot of time at the theater this past week. Okay, this past two months but really more than ever this past week. It's tech week and you know what that means... show up at 4:15ish and go home near midnight. It's a tough job but luckily we are fortunate enough to not have anywhere we must be the next morning. We can sleep as late as we like and we can lounge around in pajamas all day if we so choose. It's all good.
Of course I realize that most parents do not have this luxury. And I acknowledge how hard it is to be truly present for your children when you must get up early in the morning to attend to a job that puts food on the table and roof over your head. I get that.
One thing I have learned this past week is that, despite the fact that kids grow up and become independent 16 year olds who can drive and who can make their own meals, they still really really need their mommies. I have had several conversations with teens this week who, upon seeing the lunches I prepare for Hunter, say they would love it if their moms packed them some food to bring to the theater with them at night.
Now, granted, I am the mom of the second to youngest cast member. He's 8. He's not going to pack his own food and if I don't take it to the theater for him, he'll starve. In fact, it seems, if I am not literally feeding it to him he'll leave it in the cooler and bring it home with the claim that the sprouts in his pita pocket "smelled funny". But even 8 years from now I can't see myself no longer making the effort to send food with him or to bring food to him just because he's older. If I knew that my son was hungry, I'd feed him. Even if he was 40.
I can't help but wonder if the parents of these teens do not know that their children are hungry. I wonder if they even ask.
When I was a teenager, I was working a part time job and doing theater. I was exhausted. I was also starving myself. On purpose. I would pack a fat free lunch which I could barely keep on my stomach because my digestion was a mess due to lack of nutrition and being nervous all. of. the. time. I remember really needing my mom. She made dinner but otherwise I fended for myself. Not just when it came to food... but in every aspect of my life. She didn't work outside of the home yet she couldn't seem to find the time to drop by school and watch me practice or eat lunch with me... or attend a speech tournament as a judge to maybe see what I was up to every weekend... or invite me out on a girl's date like we used to do... before I was "grown". Nor did she seem to have time for me once I entered college. I remember begging her to spend the night with me at freshman orientation like all of my friend's moms did. But she wouldn't. And I spent orientation all alone, crying in my room. I truly needed my mommy and she just stopped showing up about the time I turned 15.
So Moms, I implore you. Even if your children are all grown up (in your mind), they need you. Even if they are driving and dating and they seem to no longer have space in their world for you, they need you. Even if they have slammed the door in your face (both literally and metaphorically), they need you. Because, and I quote, "If my mom made me a sandwich I would think that was the best thing ever." A sandwich. Just a sandwich.
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