I was just a few months past my 22nd birthday when my mother and I became lovers. Having recently been discharged after serving four years as an Army paratrooper, I had returned to my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, and also to my childhood home, to begin building a life in the civilian world. Living at home gave me the much-needed opportunity to save money — I had spent pretty frivolously during my military service, and would need several months of steady paychecks to get on my feet.
Mom was glad to have me. All three of her children (I’m the middle child, and the only son) were grown and moved out. Both of my sisters had married while I was overseas, and mom missed having a houseful. In truth, I was always my mother’s favorite — I wouldn’t say this to either of my sisters, but then, I wouldn’t tell them what I’m about to tell you, either!
I have to say that mom had adjusted very well to me becoming an adult. She simply asked that I be respectful of her home, and that I phone her if I, as she put it, ‘got lucky and wasn’t coming home until the next day’. Yeah, it was an agreeable situation. And to be honest, it was the first time in my life that I ever had my beloved mom to myself!
We shared household responsibilities such as cleaning and cooking, and I was happy to contribute to our household. It was so nice to be cared for — for the first time in years, I was regularly being fed all my childhood favorites! I realized pretty early how lucky I was, and wanted to make sure mom knew how much I appreciated her. One night, after she had served my all-time favorite meal, we both stood to clear the table. I put my hand on my mom’s arm, signaling that she should leave the dishes.
“I’ve got these tonight, mom,” I said. “You sit down and turn on the TV.” I stepped close to her, drawing her into a deep embrace. “Thank you,” I said into the top of her head, “for everything. I feel so welcome here. I wasn’t sure what coming home would be like, and you’ve made it wonderful.” I kissed the top of her head (I’d reached my full height of just under 6′, and mom was all of 5’6″.
She had tears in her eyes as she pulled back and looked into mine. “Min gode pojke,” she said, reverting to the Swedish epithet of my early life. “Min gode pojke” (my good boy), “I am your mother, and this will always be your home. With you here again, I’m happier now than I’ve been in years.” I leaned in and pressed my lips to hers, the same kiss we’d shared as long as I can remember. Firm and tender at the same time, our mouths together, and lasting for several seconds. Another hug, squeezing her firmly against me, before releasing her.
“Go,” I said. “I’ll put on some tea and bring you a cup when it’s ready.” She pulled me close again, briefly squeezing me as I had her, before thanking me, letting go and settling into the family room.
I suppose some background might be in order. Like so many other children, my parents divorced when I was young. I was 11 when my father moved out after 16 years of marriage and three children. This was in the mid- to late-1970s, when divorce was still a word whispered.
My parents did not have an amicable divorce. Frankly, I don’t think either of them ever spoke a civil word about the other as long as they lived. Mom got custody and dad got visitation. It was always strange when we went with dad. He had traveled a lot for work during their marriage, and preferred to spend his time in the bars rather than at home, so he really seemed a stranger to me.
He soon was living with another woman (to their credit, their marriage lasted the rest of dad’s life — I guess he eventually found the right woman).
Money was tight after the separation, with mom working three part-time jobs for several years. She hadn’t worked during their marriage, and returning to the workforce couldn’t have been easy.
Eventually, she managed to get back full-time with the phone company, her employer before her marriage, and things got a bit easier financially, though we were a decidedly working-class family.