My son came to me the other day and made a startling confession.
'I don't want you to ever have a boyfriend, Mum.'
G is not one for pouring his heart out all that often, so I knew that it had taken a lot for him to admit this to me. I also knew that if I wanted to delve any deeper into the issue, I would need to approach it very gingerly, because if he were to realise that I was questioning him, he would see it as an interrogation. I would then loose his trust, and he would clam up altogether. I even left him standing, because an invitation to sit down would mean one thing to him and one thing only: a Mum Talk. Barely looking up from my laptop, I began my investigation.
'How come, Hun?'
He shrugged and looked at his feet. This one was going to be a revelation.
'Because you're my mum. If I saw you doing all that lovey-dovey stuff, it'd make me uncomfortable.'
Big shocker there; no kid wants to see his mum kissing any bloke other than his dad. I looked at him a bit longer before I resumed pretending to work.
'I'd never do anything that made you uncomfortable, babe. If and when I do get a boyfriend, I promise there will be no canoodling in front of you.'
He was silent for a few minutes. Percolating things.
'It isn't just that that bothers me,' he said as he came over and sat next to me on the couch.
I closed the lid to the laptop and steadied myself. He had been the only man in my life for the better part of thirteen years, so the thought of his mum loving anyone other than him must have been too terrifying for words until now. He was always there for me with an inappropriate joke when I was having one of my down days. He was always the first person to kiss me good morning and the last person to kiss me goodnight. He was the person on whom I could always count for unconditional love. I, in turn, was the person who knew him better than he knew himself. The person who would drop everything at a moment's notice to help him with his homework. The person who put his needs and wants above anybody Else's. His brow was furrowed with concentration; I could practically hear him mulling it all over.
If I fell in love, everything would change; our television viewing habits, our living arrangements, and, most earth shatteringly, he would loose his position as number one guy in the family. He had been storing this stuff for years, filling the shelves of his mind with angst and insecurity. He was about to let it all out, clean house as it were, and I was the vessel into which he was going to pour everything. Oh yes, I had been preparing for this day for some time. I was ready for the angry tears, the wails of indignation. As a mother, this was my time to shine.
'Baby, you know I could never love anyone as much as I love you, and that is never going to change. The love between a mother and a child is different to the love between a man and a woman. You know that, right? I will always be there for you, boyfriend or no boyfriend, and if he doesn't understand that, then I won't make him a part of our lives.'
For a moment, he just stared at me. Foolishly, I took his look of incredulity as confirmation that I'd made a connection. My little boy had reached out to me in a time of personal crisis, and I pulled him up from the depths of despair. Angelina Jolie might have half a football team for a family, but she had nothing on me. I was Super Mum!
'You're too old to have a boyfriend! If my friends at school saw you, I'd die!'
All lesser beings bow before me.