What feels like just a few weeks ago, I gave birth to a little boy. He was a nine-pound bundle of joy. Although I had several nephews by that time, I had never lived with any little boys. I knew they were loud and rambunctious and tended to be climbers. I knew that they were dirty and liked to make (and joke about) body noises. I knew they liked to use your face as target practice during diaper changes. I knew they liked to play with cars and toy guns.
But I didn’t know that they are sweet and nurturing with their mamas and their pets. I didn’t realize that they tend to wrap their Grandmas around their little pinky fingers. I didn’t know that no matter how dirty those teeny fingernails are, they look incredibly sweet around a handful of flowers picked from the yard. I didn’t know that their sweaty forehead leaned against your chest would make you want to hold them there forever. I didn’t realize how tender-hearted and compassionate they are or how strong and mature they can be.
And while I have two other children who seem to have blasted through childhood at lightning speed as well, I was reminded last week of the swift pace that this boy of mine has grown up. You see, last week I got a postcard in the mail with his senior picture appointment date. I knew the time was coming, but now that it’s here I am reminded of a million things I had hoped to accomplish with him before he graduates.
Have we taught him enough about how to cook? I mean, beyond heating up a frozen pizza or driving through a fast food restaurant. I know he is capable of doing laundry, but will he move out and wear stinky, stained clothes all the time because he thinks the clothes on his floor are washed? Does he know enough about his bank account to keep up with things and not get overdrawn? Will he remember to take his vitamins and eat his veggies?
Of course, I say this in jest. This brilliant boy of mine is far ahead of so many others his age. He is respectful and polite. He is kind and gentle. He is responsible and brave. He has lived through struggles that would overwhelm men twice his age. He is bold and courageous. His faith is strong and his patriotism is unshaken. He has plans for the next few years and dreams for adulthood. I know, deep down, that he will be fine after graduation next spring. I’m just a little sad that this it has come so soon.
I am pretty sure it is time to go ahead and call the medics to be ready for me next May at the WHS graduation ceremony. I’m going to need an I.V. of fluids to rehydrate me after all the crying I may do. Seeing my babies grow wings and fly may be the goal of parenthood but it sure is hard.
(Contact Liz by email at Lizreeves2@aol.com)