Mom and I were watching an old episode of Friends on the couch, while a warm and cozy fire was burning. Dad was still at work, Allie and Phil had gone out on a date night and Oliver was sleeping upstairs. The timing was perfect, because I wanted to talk over some things with mom.
When the commercial break came on, I lowered the volume and turned to her.
“Mom? I wanted to talk to you about something.”
She looked at me, worriedly. “No more secret jobs, I hope?”
“No, nothing like that,” I assured her. “But I’ve been thinking… I’ve been working for a while and saved up quite a bit of money. And you can’t deny that it’s getting kind of crowded here ever since Oliver was born. I love being close to my nephew, but you know Allie and Phil won’t stop at just one…” I hesitated a second. “I think I might be ready to move out.”
Mom looked at me for a while and didn’t say anything. Then, she sighed. “Well, I can’t say I’m surprised. Your dad and I have thought this would happen for a while now.”
“It’s not that I don’t like living here. But I’m almost twenty. I think it’s time I got my own space.”
Mom nodded thoughtfully. “I understand. I can’t say I won’t miss you, but I definitely understand. Do you want to stay in Newcrest?”
I shook my head. “The prices in Newcrest have risen enormously since the Artist Housing Program took off. I couldn’t afford that. No, I was looking at some places in Willow Creek.”
She was visibly relieved that I only wanted to move one town over. “And you’re sure you’ve thought this through? Bills, groceries, cleaning up after yourself, all of it?”
“I have. I want to get out on my own, mom. Do my own thing.”
Luckily, she understood. After going through my financial options for a while, mom cleared her throat and said: “There’s just one more thing I want to ask you. You know, being a curious mother and all that.”
“All right. Shoot.”
“Is this because you want to move in with someone?”
I couldn’t hide the surprised look on my face. This was definitely not what I’d been expecting.
“Oh, honey, I know you’re seeing someone. We’ve known for months. It’s so obvious.” She looked at me with a sympathetic smile, like I’d been crazy to think she wouldn’t know. No point in denying it.
“Well, it’s not that serious,” I finally said. “We’re just having fun. Not moving in together.”
Michelle and I had been fooling around outside of work for about a year now. I spent at least a few nights a week at her place, and she often made me breakfast in the morning… Was that dating? Was that serious? Should we be moving in together?
“Well. As long as you’re happy.” Mom seemed a little disappointed, but smiled encouragingly. “I don’t want to pressure you, but we’d love to meet her at some point. If you feel comfortable with that, of course. I’d love to see the girl who’s making my son so happy.”
She’s my boss and she’s twice my age.
“I’ll think about it, mom,” I answered, trying to smile as convincingly as I could. Something told me Michelle wouldn’t be excited to come over for a family brunch on Sunday… But could it hurt to ask?