Tyler Garcia had been gently occupying the edges of my youngest daughter’s friendship circle for quite some time before he asked her out on a date. Evidently, he had been working up his nerve for a while. I knew after the first date, however, that this young man was a possible candidate for a longer stay in our life.
I knew after their first anniversary that he might be a possible candidate for a much longer stay in our life.
And, I knew after three Christmases had passed that he might be a possible candidate for a permanent stay in our life.
I knew this because for his first Christmas as Rylee’s boyfriend, I got him a coffee cup with musical notes on it. I told him that he “could keep it in the cabinet and use it when he was visiting.” I did that because we were both musicians and thought it was a way to connect with him. He took care of the cup, and over the years finally took it when he moved into his own apartment.
During their second Christmas together, he got me a coffee cup with musical notes on it. As I opened it, I smiled because my daughter’s boyfriend had reached back to connect with me across our commonalities. We both loved coffee and music, and he had said with his gift, “Hey, I’m glad we have this in common. Now I’m returning the favor.”
After their third Christmas together, I was in the middle of the “Christmas gift-wrap chaos” and had been cleaning for several days. I kept picking up a pair of really cool socks that I thought my eldest daughter, her husband, my youngest daughter or her boyfriend had forgotten. By the fourth day the house was clean and things were mostly back into their post-Christmas place…except for the pair of mystery socks.
They were lying on the countertop next to the coffee pot. I picked up my phone and called my youngest. I had deduced that someone had gotten them for Tyler because they had black plastic hipster framed glasses on them. So our conversation went something like this:
“Hi, Ry, how are you?”
“Good, mams. What’s up?”
“Well, I’ve been cleaning up after our Christmas time together, and I think Tyler might have left a gift over at our house.”
“Okay, what is it?”
“Well, it’s a pair of cool socks with eyeglasses patterns on them.”
“Um, mom. Those are YOURS. Tyler got them for you. Because of your glasses?”
“Ohhhhhhhhhh. Wow. Ohhhhhhh. Huh. Well now I’m excited. Cool! Because of MY glasses. Yeah…”
“Okay, bye mom. Merry Christmas…”
Okay, so they were mine. I must have missed that fact entirely as everyone was opening their gifts amid the general flurry of the giving and receiving.
So, Tyler had once again found something that he and I had in common and commemorated it with a gift.
Crap. I couldn’t help but like that kid. As much as I want to be the protective mother who believes men don’t exist who deserve my daughters, both my daughters keep proving to me that there ARE wonderful young men in the world and they are damn good at finding them.
So, I did what any self-respecting mother would do and immediately put my new socks on and wore them the rest of the day.
It’s now a full season past that particular Christmas gift exchange, but I get to revisit my smiling moment each time I do laundry. Like tonight.
Each time I gently fold the socks together and put them into my sock drawer, I feel like I’m making a contract with Tyler. The contract goes something like this: I keep being a mother and feeling protective of my daughter, and he keeps showing me that it’s okay to trust him with her. And he seals the deal with a pair of socks.
And…I accept the deal by wearing them.