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Oldest Son turned 20 Saturday, the 1st. I called him as soon as I woke – it was 7:15am. He, of course, didn’t answer (no one but mom gets up that early on a Saturday!) so I sang him “Happy Birthday” and told him I loved him and to call me later when he woke.

He called much later, dinner time, actually. He was lamenting how his birthday sucked. No one to do anything with, no money to do it, and his dad had not called to acknowledge the day.

Rewind 20 years, and I can vividly see the sheer awe on the face of this man who is his father…awe that we had a boy, awe that he was healthy, awe that he was ours.

How do you forget your first child’s birthday?

Ok, maybe if you’re estranged and you don’t know where your child is…maybe it’s ok for him not to hear from you. This is not the case. He knows right where our son is.

But he didn’t even call.

Watching this is hard. It’s been like this with these two for a long time now. Nothing about it can I fix for either one of them. I’m mom – in a separate category. Largely ignored, mostly taken for granted, immensely loved underneath it all.

I long ago gave up making excuses for either one of them to the other. Sometimes there’s just no excuse and you can only console, for all the immediate good it will do.

But, 20 years later, he is still my baby boy, and it hurts when he hurts. Forget his stupid choices, forget his mistakes, forget the hate and discontent I’ve endured – this is the boy who is almost a man who calls me sometimes just to say, “I love you, Mom.”

Like he did today, “Thank you, Mom. You’re the only one who told me Happy Birthday unreminded. I love you, Mom.”