Today I met Glen for lunch on the University of Minnesota campus. I took him to lunch at a little restaurant I used to eat at all the time when I was in grad school. It's the first time I've eaten there in almost twenty years. I wasn't even sure it would still be there, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it there right in the same spot, looking almost exactly the same as it did the last time I ate there. They still had my favorite dish on the menu.
I'm not sure who needed this father-son talk more -- me or Glen. I've seen him at least once every other week since he started at the University. A couple of weeks ago, we took Glen with us to see the King Tut exhibit at the Minnesota Science Museum, and ate together at our favorite eatery -- Mickey's Diner. (For you non-Minnesotans, you can see it at the end of the Prairie Home Companion Movie. I've sat in the exact spot where Garrison Keillor sits in the movie!) But somehow, in these casual get-togethers, I just haven't found the time to talk heart-to-heart. I realized I need that -- even if he doesn't! I miss not having our son around. And I think of him all the time. I want him to be happy, to be doing well. I think about that and pray for it literally every day. I want him to know that I love him.
I think, Is this what it was like for my parents?
So we had lunch, and Glen told me all about school. He reported being stressed. But it was a stress I'm very familiar with. I remember being in school. It made me happy to hear about this stress, because it's the kind of stress that makes you grow, as you work hard to do your best. Watching him talk, I could tell he was good in his skin.
He asked me: "Have I changed since I moved out?"
I looked him square in the eyes. "You have," I said without hesitation.
"How?" he asked.
"You're more confident. You seem more centered."
"I am," he replied. He proceeded to tell me how liberating it was for him to live on his own, without all our rules. I was happy. That's what the rules were for in the first place! To get him to the point where he could do without them!
I'm so glad for this. I feel so lucky to have this. I can't wait till our next lunch!