About mid-morning, Asia found Kolby on her doorstep. She was glad to see him again, no doubt, but it was strange. He must have come to smooth things over.
“Kolby? Good heavens! Twice in one week? I must have won some contest!”
“Ha ha,” he said flatly. “Just get over here.” He grabbed her and squeezed tight. She missed his loving hugs so much. They were the best.
She lingered in his arms for a few seconds and squeezed him back before letting go. “So! What do you need? Are you ok?”
He chuckled nervously and smiled a bit too wide for an innocent person. “I can’t come see my mother without a reason?”
She would give him a few minutes to play this game before she got the truth out of him. His attempt to pretend like he didn’t want something was almost insulting. Didn’t he know he didn’t need to pretend?
“Are you going to let me in?”
She smiled and opened the door for him. They sat in the living room, and he seemed to search for something to say as if he wasn’t prepared. Whatever he was stalling for must have been serious “So! How are things at work?”
Oh boy. That’s what he led with? This must be really serious. Sitting next to him and thinking about work caused a brief moment of guilt. If only she could have had her current work schedule back when he was little. She hated being absent so much, but he seemed to turn out ok. “Everything is great. I have a great schedule now.”
“Oh nice! I bet Kaleb and Kori really enjoy that.”
“Yeah…well, I don’t know. Teenagers…you know.”
This was painful! Talking to Kolby wasn’t usually so tedious. Surely he could feel it too. Time for this charade to end. “Kolby… Let’s talk about what you really came here for.”
“What,” he said two octaves higher. “I just came to–“
“Please don’t insult me, Kolby. You left home three weeks ago and haven’t visited once. You were just here two days ago. I love you and think the world of you, but I don’t believe you suddenly miss us so much.”
He looked like he tried to come up with another excuse but finally gave in. “Why do you always have to be right?”
“Ha! I’m your mother. I know all things.”
She decided to help him out. “This is about Fernanda, isn’t it? You want to know what I think.”
“Why didn’t you just say so?”
He shrugged. “I dunno. I guess…I got the feeling you didn’t like her. So…you know.”
She sighed. “She’s nice and seems to care a lot about you.”
Of course, he’d see right through that. She didn’t want to get involved. “I just got the feeling that you guys were dancing around something you didn’t want to tell us.” She gasped. “Good heavens! She’s not pregnant, is she?”
He laughed. “No! Watcher no!”
What a relief! She looked forward to grandma life, but not for a long long time. Kolby would make a wonderful father, but not at the moment. He still had some growing up to do. “So, what then?”
The laughter subsided, and the nervousness returned. “Uhhh…we’re kinda…living together?”
She wanted to laugh at the misplaced question mark at the end of that awkward sentence. He was still so young. Living together wasn’t exactly what she wanted to hear, but it was more palatable than babies or engagement.
“Do you have anything to say about that, mom?”
So much for not getting involved. “That’s a pretty big step, Kolby. You’re that serious about her?”
“I think so.”
She shook her head at her poor, young, clueless son. “You’re not sure?”
“I mean…it’s not that big a deal.”
Oh, but it is, my son. She smiled painfully and patted his knee. “If that’s what you think.”
“I want to know what you think.”
“Kolby, I don’t want to interfere with your love life. You’re a grown man. I want you to make your own decisions.” And learn from your mistakes.
“So you’re not gonna tell me what you think?”
“Kolby…” How sweet of him to seek her advice. It’s not that she didn’t think she should be advising him anymore. But, he was so young and naive, she knew whatever he did with said advice, he’d do because “mom said so,” and that was not what she wanted. “If you want to know if I disapprove of you living with your girlfriend, that’s not the case. I think living together could be a great thing when you’re serious and thinking about the future.”
He nodded like he understood what she didn’t say.
“I hope you and Fernanda are right for each other, and I would love to see your relationship with her flourish. But, if that doesn’t happen, be more careful in the future, Kolby. I don’t want to tell you what you should do with your life, but don’t let someone move in with you because it’s convenient.”
“But, she was having a hard time finding a job, and she couldn’t afford to pay her part of the rent anymore!”
She stifled some giggles. “I wasn’t referring to the money, Kolby, but that’s a good point too. You have a big heart, and I love that. Letting her move in was a noble thing to do, but make sure she’s not going to take advantage of your kindness. I know you want to take care of her, and that’s amazing, but she isn’t your responsibility right now. If you want to take on that responsibility, fine, but you do that with your own money. Whatever you do, just make sure you’re both on the same page. She shouldn’t have any unspoken expectations from this.”
He wanted to know her thoughts, and she gave them. She half expected him to be upset, misconstruing what she said and arguing about why she didn’t want him to be happy, but to her surprise, he grinned and said, “You’re the best, mom.”