Maureen raised her children from infancy until they went off to college. She didn’t home school them to shelter them from the world, but to prepare them to live, to work, and to be influential in it. Opportunity abounded for social, academic, and physical activities, and Maureen saw to it that they were involved in many of them.
Jason went off to school first. The process to getting him there was a long and winding road. The plan to let him go and experience life as any others his age was going fairly well.
Often Jason would call his dad and tell him of the happenings in and around his college world. He would discuss his classes, the professors, tales of new friendships being forged, and of new opportunities he was experiencing. Once in a while Jason mentioned a friend named, “Shannon.” He also mentioned a lot of other people’s names too, but “Shannon” was named a little more than the rest.
Then one day while Jason was talking to his mom on the phone he said the dreaded words: “I’m bringing a girl home to meet you guys.”
“Umm, What?” Maureen gulped trying not to show her dismay, surprise, angst, or whatever it was she was stuffing inside.
“I’m going to bring Shannon home to meet you,” he repeated as pleasant and nonchalant as ever.
“Oh boy,” thought Maureen. “He’s too young to have a girlfriend. Didn’t we teach him to wait to get serious with someone---until he was further along in his schooling or even a career? This is serious isn’t it? …For him to bring someone home to meet us?” Maureen’s head was spinning out of control with one scenario after another.
The day of the big visit from Jason and Shannon had arrived and happened to coincide with a rather large gathering of friends Maureen and her husband had already planned. This didn’t seem to bother Jason, but it certainly bothered Maureen.
“How am I going to explain this to a group of home schooling friends who sheltered their kids more than I did? I can’t let that bother me,” she would chastise in her head. “I can be myself with our friends. They can be themselves with us. We encourage each other all the time. It won’t be a problem,” she kept reminding herself.
The morning was rather pleasant. Maureen could see the attraction immediately. Shannon looked a lot like Jason’s sister, Kayla. She even helped Maureen prepare for the party and seemed at ease about it. Maureen found her engaging and full of energy and ideas. She knew all of these things would appeal to her son.
Before the party guests arrived, Shannon pulled out a large photo album. Jason was excited to let her show it to his parents. This album was mostly of Shannon’s growing up years to the present, and most of it had to do with the many dozens of P-A-G-E-A-N-T-S in which she participated. Maureen could not believe what she was hearing and seeing.
Shannon was prattling on and on about all of her trips, and costumes, the money, the drama, the weight issues, the make up, the hoopla, and the…
Maureen couldn’t believe what she was hearing and seeing. All she could picture in her mind were her adorable grandchildren being carted everywhere and being made up to look and act like thirty year old adults at ages five or seven.
All of a sudden Maureen’s head was hot, and she needed some air. Her guests were arriving soon. Frantically, she trounced to her bedroom. She felt like screaming and crying all at once. By now her chest was heaving and she couldn’t breathe. She just had to scream and cry: cry for those poor grandbabies that she didn’t even have yet.
“Aha! The linen closet will muffle my cries!” she thought. Maureen threw her face into a pile of folded towels and began to SOB! She greeted her guests with tear stained cheeks and returned to the terry cloth sanctuary a few times during the party.
Maureen’s husband wanted to console his wife, but he also thought it all quite funny that she had made leaps to grandchildren.
In the end, Jason only dated Shannon for four months, but to Maureen it felt like much longer.
Then during Kayla's second year of college she started talking about "Joseph." Maureen just took a deep breath, said a prayer for help and courage, and giggled.
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