We’re All Grownups Here

Then it came.

The day.


Today, I am in Dayton, OH attending the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop. I hope as you read this I am laughing my ass off at the talented and hilarious people around me.

Today is also my baby boy’s birthday.

Joey is 18 years old.

I probably won’t see much of him as I chose to attend a 3 day workshop over his birthday.

Totally rocking the whole “mom” thing.Β 

I’ve written about Joey a number of times. He got pissed at me once for writing about the time he ate chocolate he found by a dumpster. In my defense, he ate chocolate he found by a dumpster.

Randy and I certainly can’t complain. Joey is a joy. He is the bond between Randy and me and Joey’sΒ sisters and his brother. The lines between blood family and step family were fading by the time Joey joined our family. When he got here, the lines blurred until they no longer made sense.

Joey was all about the music since before he had hair or teeth.

When he was five months old, he would do this full body freak out thing whenever he heard the cover of She Said by The Cramps. I count Joey Ramone Combsthe memory of him dancing in his car seat to a psychobilly song as a top five memory of all my memories.

He worked his way through Johnny Cash and Elvis Costello. He listened to Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers. He’s in love with Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd.

He writes and raps his own lyrics. His command of the language and amazing turns of phrases make my head spin. I know I’m the mom and this is what moms say (unless you’re a really shitty mom) but that aside, he’s really fucking good. I’m proud of him and am excited for him as he finds his way in the world. I am also panicky and sad about this, but this is how life works. Our children grow up and they find their way.

It occurs to me, that I no longer have any “children” children. I only have adult children. I have had at least one “child” child living with me for nearly 29 years now.

I only have adult children.

Let me let that sink in for a minute. Because I honestly cannot possibly describe all the different ways this makes me feel.

Yesterday, only 75% of my children were adults. Today, 0% of my children are children.

All of my children can vote. I am counting on 100% of my children to be a part of this election.

Me and joeyIf I wanted to send one of my children to the gas station to buy scratch off lottery tickets for me, any one of them could perform that task. Although, it would be weird if I asked 3 of our children who live in different states to buy me lottery tickets. I probably won’t ask Joey to buy them. I don’t buy lottery tickets. The point is, all my kids can legally buy lottery tickets now.

All of my children can be tried as an adult.Β Heed this, baby boy, as you enter this stage of life when you learn that the freedoms you gain as an adult aren’t always what they are cracked up to be.Β 

So, Joey, if you are reading this, then I will tell you again. Happy birthday. I love you like mad. Also, get your dirty dishes out of the family room.



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  • This made me cry because I am at that cry at everything age and because I have a son who could buy me cigarettes and behind the counter Sudafed. I will never need cigarettes, though. πŸ™‚

    I’m glad I get to hang out with you. Thanks for sharing your mom with us on your birthday, Joey!

    Also, this isn’t an April Fool’s Day joke, right?

  • Awwww man, M I got no time to cry – gotta get to work. I’m doing the countdown to all 3 kids being adults… 11 months to go. Happy Birthday to your cool son. Today one of my stepsons turns, um, 34 (?). Where the hell does the time go?

  • Happy Birthday Day, Joey’s Mom!
    Just think – 18 years and one day ago today you couldn’t go one hour without peeing!
    (Had to stop my own ‘facial leakage’ Lisa R. Petty πŸ™‚ )
    (and if this IS an April Fool’s joke, I’ll laugh, cuz ya got me, but I will plot… πŸ˜‰ )
    You really had a baby on April Fool’s Day??? I’m having a hard time rolling that around, myself. Like a Christmas baby, but with a better present recipient rate.
    Hmmnn. Lucky Joey. (He’s pretty photo-worthy, too, ‘eh? Cutie!)
    I hope you are having the BEST time! It has to be the most fabulous gathering of humor appreciation and female observation, ever!
    (Can you touch The Bloggess for me? No licking, though, just like before πŸ˜‰ )
    Terri Lee? We’re going to have to find your tassel bra! Rage-M’s gonna need a Psychotic Douche Twizzle show to get her head out of the Erma cloud! Sounds like we might be able to get Joey to do a guest spot on the guitar to help us welcome her home!
    Joey? Are you reading this? Happy Birthday!!

    • Belated Happy Birthday, Joey!!! He definitely IS a cutie and very much a rock star! πŸ™‚ Lisa K, if it gets Michelle through this next rite of passage, I will don as many tassle bras as need be! (Why does autocorrect keep changing “tassle” to “hassle”? I had to type the word in that previous sentence four times before it AND the red line underneath it stuck. Does that mean there’s something called a hassle bra? ALL bras are a hassle! HAHA!)

      Sorry about the lateness of my appearance. I’ve been dealing with income tax shit this past week. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, right? πŸ™‚ I hope you are enjoying the workshop, Michelle! HUGS all around!!! Lisa K., squeeze in here, please for the group hug! Oops, sorry—that was my tambourine! HAHA!

  • This message is for Joey: First of all awesome music tastes.
    Second: When I turned seventeen an older friend told me “Enjoy seventeen because eighteen sucks.”
    Bullshit. Every year–every day–has the potential to either suck of be fantastic. Choose wisely.

    And this is for you, Michelle: You think about sending your adult children out for lottery tickets instead of tobacco or beer or hashish or ‘ludes or ‘shrooms or smack or PCP.
    Yeah, you are totally rocking the mom thing.

  • Have a great time at the workshop. The last thing I wanted to do on my 18th was spend it with my parents so lose that guilt right now.
    You may have raised a future rock star, parenting done right.
    Tell Randy I said that now you definitely need a kitten.

  • My youngest just turned 21. Now they can sign a lot more contracts and rent on their own. So I understand the mixed feelings. Congrats on a great kid

  • So just to be clear: you have raised a guitar player? Really? My mom did that twice, and neither of us were easy to deal with, as children or as adults. Your mileage may vary.
    Anyway, have a good time, and tell the Bloggess I said hi.

  • Yes… We raise them to be free-thinking independent human beings and then the ungrateful shitheads go and do it! Kids… They break your heart on a daily basis and you love them for it.
    Here at 18 they legally vote, drive, drink alcohol and leave for university… My baby boy did that in February… I still haven’t recovered …

  • My youngest just turned 21 and it so weird to go out with him and he has a beer. He has a beer sitting at the table with me. He’s also a gifted musician (guitar player) and just recorded his first song. He also bought his first house, so I’m feeling good about this. And he did not spend his 18th birthday with me. You go enjoy being like famous and shit πŸ™‚

  • My youngest is turning 31…. been without kids for a while and am quite happy, dont like kids, they freak me out.
    Good job on giving him the right music foundation!
    well done!
    enjoy the workshop and fuck the guilt that you arent there on your beautiful baby’s birthday…. you did all the hard work to give birth to them so you deserve the day to celebrate how you want to..

  • I’m at the 75% stage and totally feeling this post. Also.. freaking jealous you’re at that workshop! Have fun πŸ™‚ The best parenting advice I’ve been given is to cultivate my own interests because they don’t stop growing up. That and let them eat dirt… not sure where dumpster chocolate falls but it’s probably safe because he just had another birthday. Happy birthday Joey!

  • this is such a beautiful post and congrats to you all for getting to adulthood.
    How, do me a favour. Write the book on how to parent adult children, because I am not rocking it like I thought I would, or could. And humour would help too.
    I am counting on you.

    I love the picture – it is compelling – the look on both of your faces tells a story I would love to hear.

  • Even though I only have one child I felt pretty much the same when she turned 18. Now I have to remind myself – not only do I have an adult child but she is a married adult child doing all those adulting things that wives sometimes do. And I smile to myself and say “You know what – while you stuffed up some things, in the end, you did good” and be happy with the child that we raised.
    I hope you laughed your pants off this weekend and had a fabulous time – can’t wait to read all about it.

By Michelle


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