Holding On to Letting Go

By Amy Mullis

If you want to jump start the whole mid-life crisis experience, pop your youngest child on a plane that will fly over territory that’s spelled with letters in an alphabet you can’t sing a song to only to land half a world away in a place that’s flexing newly “nuclearized” fingers. In fact you can skip the whole mid-life plan and jump right into Crisis Stage, no matter your years or experience.

My tip-off came in casual conversation with my youngest child who decided to sow his wild oats in a country on the side of the world that’s boasting daylight while I’m up in the middle of the night trying to justify hiring a private detective that can slip past Godzilla.

“Mom,” came the plaintive voice through the bathroom door, “What’s my doctor’s name?”

“I’ll give you a hint. We’ve had a president with the same name.”

This kid is 27 years old. He can arrange a trip to a place that doesn’t use the Father of Our Country for currency, but can’t pick his doctor out of a lineup.

“Does it start with a J?”

“Is this Bathroom Door Charades?” I could feel my hair going gray.

“I want to get my prescription filled just in case. And I bought all new clothes.”

My phone dinged and a picture of him waving a dress shirt like a starting flag lit up the display.

Must be an imposter. This kid wouldn’t wear a collar if he was a priest.

“Did you also buy a suitcase or are you going to cross the International Date Line with your life’s belongings in a Piggly Wiggly bag?”

This kid is so full of smarts, it leaks out his ears. But asked to choose between common sense and common denominators, he’s going to ace the math test every time.

A company paid for his college education just to have the benefit of a person on the job site who could tell them when to change their nuts and bolts. Growing up he’d go all white around the mouth if I drank out of his sippy cup. Now he swings from grease racks for a living and goes around the world as if it were a ride on the Scrambler.

“Did you know my room has a bidet?”

Great. I’m buying the discount brand at WalMart, and he’s traveling economy class for fourteen hours because there’s a rear-facing water fountain at the end of the universe.

“Does your room also have a snack bar?”

Son Two made it to adulthood eating cheese pizza and Apple Jacks. What’s he going to do in a country where seaweed is considered a vegetable?

“I’ve been practicing my sushi. I can stand everything but the rice.”

We come from a section of the country where rice is considered the building block of individual DNA and this kid treats it like it causes jock itch.

“So eel skin is a delicacy, but long grain is over the line?”

“Did you know there’s a McDonald’s that serves chocolate fries?”

And I thought Shangri-la was a myth.

The morning of his flight arrived not long after bedtime the night before he left. Kid skipped breakfast and chattered all the way to the airport. This is the same guy who only says good morning in torture situations. Waitresses have to guess his order by reading his palm. When he was in school I had to bribe him with peanut butter cups to tell me his teacher’s name.

At the departure gate, I was going to offer him a twenty to hug me goodbye, but he voluntarily gave me a squeeze and strode off toward the unknown.

I watched him until the crowd of waiting passengers swallowed him up, knowing I wouldn’t see his face again until he had conquered the world.

I grinned at the prospect. Maybe letting go means I’m growing up.

And maybe it means I’m going to clean his room while he’s gone. I know there are peanut butter cups in there somewhere.

About this writer

  • Amy Mullis

    Amy Mullis

    Amy Mullis lives and writes in a small kudzu-covered town in South Carolina, where it turns out you can broaden your horizons even when you have feet of red clay. Her work has appeared in Chicken Soup and various other flavors of anthologies, The Christian Science Monitor and Sasee.

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3 Responses to “Holding On to Letting Go”

  1. Patricia Roberson Lewis says:

    Amy has a writing style like no other! Her blogs make me laugh, cry, smile and grin! I make it a part of my day to read her first thing! God Bless You Amy A. Mullis!

  2. Linda O'Connell says:

    Your story and writing style brought many smiles.

  3. Anne Skalitza says:

    Once again, my favorite funny lady made me laugh! Hope you do find some peanut butter cups.

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