I put feet to the floor later than usual today. Not sure why other than perhaps wanting to remain under the contentment of my down comforter. After seeing Rocket-man out the door I take The Poodle for his morning constitutional. I’m lost in thought, this time without a Spotify playlist.

I think about my man-child in the basement. It’s been almost two months since he arrived on our doorstep, penniless…a general train wreck of a life.   We are bending over backwards to help him sort things through but he’s not really into cooperating much…because, well, he doesn’t think there is a problem.

[Enter appropriate expletives here…..]

And, despite our best efforts otherwise, we think he’s gotten comfortable in the basement.

Winter is coming, my son.

Is that a vague Game of Thrones reference you ask?

Hmm.

So this morning it was: “Mom would you get more of those meatballs you bought last week. I really liked those.”

Just breathe, I say to myself.

He’s asked me for these damned meatballs three days in a row now. Yes, I bought a package last week (which I don’t normally do)  in a attempt to get him to eat my pasta recipe.   In that moment, I want to tell him to buy his own #*!&@# meatballs.  Besides, I have a pantry and refrigerator bursting with fresh and healthy fare.  But my 35-going-on-13-year-old will not eat any of it.  He much prefers stocking up on canned chili and Chef Boyardee.

“Son, you’re supposed to be getting back on your own feet financially! You’re gonna buy this crap with what few pennies you have left when I can provide you real, wholesome food, at no cost?”

Mind-popping.  By the way, gag me with a spoon….this here Italian mother refuses to buy this Chef Boyardee stuff.

With no intent of offending anyone out there in cyber-land, IMHO Chef Boyardee and chili-con-carne in a can is not real food!   Worse yet, my son will only eat white bread. He will only eat a salad without any added veggies and only with a certain brand of dressing and it MUST have croutons or he cannot possibly eat it.  Seriously. He will not eat lettuce unless it contains a half-a-bag of croutons. I could go on with a list of his thoroughly unhealthy habits but it sets my brain in a tizzy and gets my knickers in a twist in no time flat.  Suffice it to say he has rebuffed all efforts to learn to cook for himself or adopt even a few healthy lifestyle changes.  His sister says it’s just him being OCD.  I think it’s a mixture of laziness and pure stubbornness.  But what do I know?  I’m just the mom.

My man-child loves this stuff. Gag me with a spoon!

So, in my sweetest, nurturing-mother voice I say. “OK…Just starve.”

Sigh.

I know.  I am his mother.  But…he cannot possibly be my son.  In fact, I think my son was abducted by aliens at some point–from Uranus or Neptune perhaps–in the dead of night.  Or maybe things snapped when I kicked him out at age twenty because all he wanted to do was smoke pot and not go to school or work.

As for meatballs request, I bite my tongue and say nothing because I don’t want yet another purple minion moment before 7 a.m.

I’m nearly home from my walk with The Poodle.  As I round the corner I see my neighbor Sayeed. I’m not sure what country he is from but I know he’s muslim. His wife, a family practitioner, works long hours. It’s usually Sayeed who sees his kids off to school in the morning as mom is already at work.

He’s just seen his two young boys onto the school bus. As the bus pulls away from the curb he waves and blows them kisses.

I’m touched by the act and I tell him so.

“Sayed, you’re such a good dad!”

“Really, why?” he asks.

“You’re blowing kisses to your boys. That’s a lovely thing.”

He smiles. “Well, you know time is flying. It won’t be too many years where they will be out and on their own.”

Naturally, I laugh at this. “Don’t be so sure! My 35-year-old son is back home and camping out in my basement. I do love him but this is definitely not an optimal situation by any stretch. I’m trying my hand at meditation to get me through this.”

“Wow. Yeah. That’s tough,” he replies.  “Well, just try to not to think about negative things. There are just too many of them.”

“Yes indeed. You are absolutely right Sayeed. Thanks for that. Wise words for the day.”

And with that, off to the gym I go to blow off some steam. Nothing like a leg work-out day and time on the rowing machine to help put things into a brighter perspective.

The sage advise of good neighbors definitely helps too.

There is bliss in that.