My son, Benjamin Russell Pershing, was born on October 1, 1975, and up until April 26, 2008, he was mine. I know, I know, heâ€™s thirty-two and independent and doesnâ€™t need my approval anymoreâ€”hasnâ€™t from a very early ageâ€”and heâ€™s successful and self-supporting and lives three thousand miles away. But still. He was mine. I carried him, nursed him, giggled with him, gave him hugs, encouraged his dreams, scolded him, supported him financially until he didnâ€™t need that from me anymore. He was a pretty easy kid, came out of my womb with a kind of â€œOkay, Iâ€™m here, whatâ€™s next?â€ brightness. There were never any huge traumas with Ben, even when he had to have eye surgery at age three. And he took the breakup of my marriage to his dad and his dadâ€™s subsequent death two years later in an appropriate mannerâ€”sadness and pain followed by recovery from sadness and pain in time. I got him a Big Brother after that, which helped somewhat. If he still shows some effects of growing up without a father, they are minor, and I know he will be a fine father to his own children, when they arrive.
He was a bit of a referee in our household, as his older sister was less, shall we say, comfortable on this planet than he was, and was emotional and unhappy some of the time. Now she tells stories of teasing him and putting make-up on him and being generally nasty to him when they were younger (I had not an inkling of this, by the way, and I shudder to hear about it), and how Ben seemed to take it all good-naturedly. He has always loved his sister with a fierce loyalty and, trust me, she truly appreciates him today for that; they are very close.
As far as relationships go, Benâ€™s had his share of them, but I never got the sense that he was any kind of big player, picking up and discarding lovers all over the place. I could be wrong, of course, but then itâ€™s not really my business, is it? Suffice it to say that he brought home a couple of different girls over the years, and while I liked them fine, I didnâ€™t think they would do. It wasnâ€™t about whether or not they were classically â€œgood enoughâ€ for my son, but whether or not they would be the kind of women who would let him be Benâ€”quietly ambitious, hard-working, generous yet firm when necessary, a loyal friend (he has tons of guy and girl buddies)â€”or would they drain him, take his joy from him.
Then he brought Beth home and that was it. End of discussion as they say. I adore her, she adores me, my daughter adores her, she adores my daughter, all of us adore each other. Sheâ€™s wonderful and warm and fun and bright and oh-so-pretty and she calls me mom. She is the right one, for sure, and so on April 26, I celebratedâ€”along with 150 othersâ€”their wedding. But all day, prior to the actual time of the nuptials, the sadness and sense of loss were pretty huge for me. The old â€œA daughter is a daughter all her life but a son is a son till he takes a wifeâ€ or however that one goes syndrome. There I was, joining the gazillion moms before me, relinquishing my baby to another woman, and the feeling felt primal and ancient and kind of like a whole â€œsisterhoodâ€ thing. But you know what? After the vows were said, and in the middle of the best party Iâ€™ve ever been to, the feeling passed. Itâ€™s done, itâ€™s over, Iâ€™m fine with it. I truly do have a new daughter and a whole new family who live on the East Coast and a reason to go back there more often. And when the babies come (soon, please), a lot more often. Come one, it doesnâ€™t get much better than this, does it?
Hereâ€™s a pic of the bride and groom (Beth and Ben) in the center, surrounded by mom Diane and sister Morgan Rose. It was a simply lovely day, and Iâ€™m pleased to share it with you. And to all the moms who read this, Happy Motherâ€™s Day. How very lucky we are! Love, Diane