Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Growing Pains

My youngest little baby is going into the 11th grade this fall. He's driving, talking about college and looking more like a man every day. He's growing up. I'd like to go on record and state that I'm against it.

He doesn't welcome hugs anymore and I can't put my hand anywhere near his hair or he'll huff off to the bathroom to fix it. I don't believe I've ever seen the boy with a comb, still he's got some kind of a "look" going that I'm not allowed to tamper with.

When I speak to him face to face, I feel like I've shrunk. The memory of kneeling down to look him in the eye is still so clear. Now I need a stepladder to do it.

There are so many more things I'd like to share with you, but this child who used to hop around the house (on purpose) with both legs in one pant leg, is suddenly easily embarrassed. Perhaps I've already said too much.

So let's talk about me. The other night I had a disturbing dream about him. He was walking somewhere with his father and me in a strange city.

He was small, maybe five years old. He wore a bulky baby blue jacket with the hood up over his head. The streets were empty, so I let him walk slightly ahead of us, trudging along a little stiffly with his arms at his sides. Then we turned a corner and were swallowed up by a crowd walking over a small bridge.

Suddenly, my son was gone. Panic stricken, I scanned the area all around me but saw no trace of that little blue coat. Where would he go? I had a feeling he had joined the others moving over the bridge. He didn't know this place. For that matter, neither did we. I didn't know what to do.

I woke up with a horrible, empty feeling, thankful that it was just a dream. But the next day as I was driving around thinking about how tall and handsome he's become, it hit me like a slap in the heart. I really did lose that little boy. He's gone forever. He trotted on up away from me into the world without a backward glance.

That's the irony of parenting. You devote all of your love and attention to a child teaching them how to leave you. I'm thankful that my little boy has become a responsible, likable young man and I know that one day he'll offer me hugs again.

But for now, maybe if I'm lucky, every now and again I'll get to visit with that sweet tiny guy when I'm deep in sleep. Only this time, instead of marching on ahead, he'll stop and turn to me, reaching out to take my hand as we cross the bridge together.

5 comments:

Julie said...

Girl, those comments about your sons always make me cry. My little guy is 12, and still welcomes hugs, still tells me things in secret, and still shares a good joke with me before anyone else. But I know it's just a matter of time. How sad life is, really.

((((caryl))))

jaybszoo said...

Caryl,

Your comments really hit home for me too. You might know that I have a sixteen year old girl that it testing me with her " I an adult" crap all the time. She still talks to me about things, but not everything like she used to. It is so hard to see her grow up and not need mommy like she used to. I'd love to go back a few years but life doesn't work that way.
Your dream of your son being lost in a crowd of strangers is how I feel letting my daughter face the world by making decisions on her own, and it is so scary.
We'll get through it, but yes it is hard!

Chicken & Waffles said...

That was the sweetest thing I've read in ages. Poetry, baby.

caryl said...

Waah! I miss my babies!!

Then again, if my sons were young enough to need their mommy every day, I wouldn't have been able to go on all those trips this year.

There IS an upside!

heylaw said...

neither of my boys lives at home anymore...the hugs, although few and far between, are like nothing you've experienced yet....