Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Son fun

By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — Our family has always been close, but scattered.
My dad once noted that he and mom were getting to see a lot of the country on visits to see the grandkids. My sister and her husband and daughter were in south Florida and my husband, our son and I settled in the Pacific Northwest.
“You couldn’t have gotten much farther from each other if you’d planned it,” Dad said.
We hadn’t. My sister and I and our husbands had once all been housemates when our kids were babies and we’ve pretty happily shared households a couple of times since, during transitions and vacations.
With encroaching age and migrations, many of us live alone or in smaller groups these days. And we wonder if our abilities to coexist and play nicely with others decrease as we get older and set in our ways.
That’s why I was surprised at how well things worked out when job schedules and vacation time aligned to allow my son Ryan and I to share a nice chunk of time recently.
In fact, that month is the longest period we’ve spent together since a time in Santa Fe between high school and college.
I’d heard cautionary tales for decades from Baby Boomer parents with boomerang kids, a phenomenon that has not occurred in our tribe.
The only compulsion greater than editing someone else’s copy, an erstwhile journalist friend cautioned me, is the need for one’s adult children to reorganize their parents’ kitchen.
I had a moment’s pause when I came home shortly after his arrival to find my favorite paring knife missing and every pot, pan, baking sheet and exotic appliance out of their carefully configured cabinets and drawers and, as Ryan put it, “finally getting their walk in the park.”
But mostly, I found, it can be truly wonderful to witness the competence and creativity of one’s adult offspring.
He made me delicious, imaginative meals. Homemade salsas! Herb roasted chicken! Spicy, casseroles! Savory soups! Artichoke nachos! Frittatas!! He came up with gourmet goodies even when I’d missed supermarket rounds and the pantry seemed bare to me.
He’d honed his creative culinary abilities during all those years on the road, he explained, when the band bus would pull in late at night and friends along the way would invite him to forage and whip up anything he wanted.
He has some practical skills that clearly skipped my generation, perhaps inherited from his resourceful engineer and wilderness-loving physician grandparents.
He cleaned my gutters, dismantled, hosed down and fixed my defective drainage system, trimmed trees, gathered boulders in the desert and re-landscaped my little back yard so artfully that it looks beautiful though most of my plants had been killed off by freezes.
He also cleaned and reorganized my garage, led daily hikes (we both lost a few pounds over the holidays, despite the gourmet goodies), raided his favorite categories at CoAs Book Store and read dozens of books, entertained my motley amigos and calmly drove me to doctor’s appointments in El Paso at rush hour (one of my least fave chores on the planet). He cheerfully endured a chick flick I really wanted to see, the latest in the “Twilight” series, and shared show biz insider’s info about cast members and other music groups, TV series and happenings in the Pacific Northwest.
As one of the toughest years in my challenging life drew to a close, he made me laugh. A lot.
Yes, there was the lint-loss incident. In the garage cleaning, he threw out the giant bag of lint I’d been collecting for a year for an art project. When I showed him online examples of epic lint art, he made up for it by sharing a smorgasbord of some of the funniest YouTube videos and websites I’ve ever seen.
I still can’t find the paring knife, but all in all, lint and a kitchen utensil are nothing, compared to the joy of discovering, yet again, that my son, that happy baby who giggled in his sleep and sang in perfect pitch before he could speak, has matured into a bright, resourceful and kind man, a boon companion and a compassionate and entertaining friend.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore.

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