Thursday, June 7, 2007

Dr. Jekyll and Mother Hyde

Pubished June 4, 2007

It was 9 a.m.
"Matt, aren't you supposed to have that car to the gas station by 10?" I said softly to my younger son, who was sleeping diagonally across his big bed, his long body twisted in his sheets.
"Yeah. I'm getting up," he mumbled.
At 9:20, I turned it up a notch and yelled up the stairs, "Matt!"
At 9:40, I tromped up the stairs and cranked it up yet another notch as I pushed open his bedroom door. Still there. Still diagonal.
"Matt!" I shrieked. "Get. Up. And. Take. That. Car. In."
Once again, he had managed to turn his kind, loving mother into a raving, shrieking lunatic. Dr. Jekyll and Mother Hyde.
What usually happens next - because most times he's awake during his mother's metamorphosis - is that he gives me a perplexed look and says, "What's wrong with you?"
But he wouldn't be saying that today.
Because he was still sleeping.
And I was done talking. I grabbed my car keys and went to work.
As I was pulling out of the driveway, I thought, "That'll fix him. Now he'll never get up to take that car in."
As I was nearing the corner, I thought, "How's he going to get up now that I'm not there to wake him? I should go back and try to get him up again."
As I was getting on the highway, I thought, "Ooh, he makes me so mad. He stays out with his friends half the night and then won't do what he is supposed to do."
And on and on. Back and forth. Good, evil. Sane, insane.
Finally, somewhere between that spot on the highway and the parking lot at work, I became, if only momentarily, rational.
It doesn't matter if he's right or wrong, I thought, he has to get that car fixed.
You see, Matt was to leave later that day for Denver. His brother had asked him to come live with him for the summer and get a job out there.
That's why he was driving; he would need a car for work. The plans were to pick up his girlfriend in Chicago and she would keep him company on the ride and then fly back home.
So there were a lot of people counting on Matt getting on the road as planned.
But first he had to get out of bed.
Well, as is almost always the case, things worked out. He managed not only to get out of bed but to convince the mechanic to look at his car even though he had missed his appointment.
He called me later that day. He and my husband had packed up his car and he was ready to leave. He wanted to know when I would be home.
I left work early so I could say goodbye, the morning's rage long forgotten.
"Follow me to the ATM, and I'll get you some money for your trip," I told him.
I pulled away from the machine and parked my car next to his. As I climbed out of the car, I could feel a lump in my throat.
"I don't want you to go," I said.
"Mom. I'll see you in a week," he told me.
"Oh, yeah." I had forgotten that I am flying out there next week.
Later, I was talking to my husband.
"You know you do drive him a little crazy," my husband told me.
"But I don't know what it is with those boys. They are really attached to you. It must be something about mothers and sons," he said.
Or maybe it's just that love really does mean never having to say you're sorry.
For driving someone crazy, that is.