I used to cut my son’s dinner for him in small chunk sized bites. Now he lectures me on what I should and should not be eating and how I should incorporate a protein drink into my work-out routine.
I used to go to our basement to play video games with my son. We’d play Madden Football or replicate a World War II Call of Duty battle. Now I walk to the basement to get something from our freezer and remind myself that I should check out the app store on my phone to see what new app or game I might enjoy and will make me sound hip to my son.
I used to wake up blurry-eyed each Saturday morning in the Fall and Spring to drive my son to meet up with his teammates for cross country and track practices. Now I pass the boys team running on a nearby street on my way home from work—they’re usually joking and breaking out in a laugh—and I impulsively look for my son and his gangly gait in the pack of runners. And then, I’m reminded that he’s not there.
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you
My son turned 19 this week. In previous years, we would have celebrated with a special birthday cake and dinner. We’d get an ice-cream cake from a local Dairy Queen or his grandmother would bake him an angel food cake with the sweetest icing known to man.
We would have turned the day into a big deal, but he lives on his own now, more than 150 miles away from us, off at college. He’s building his own life now, challenging himself academically and physically. (We still worked to make the day a special day for him by surprising him with a special delivery from a local bakery.)
Kiddie to full-grown man-child
I find the evolution of family-life fascinating. You start out by spending every waking minute with your newborn. You there at their beck and call. You spend your nights soothing their wailing cries, while you spend your days cooing and resorting to anything that will get a smile or a laugh. It doesn’t stop there. You watch your newborn take his first step, you look down and before you know it, he’s bounding off to elementary school and then middle school and high school. In no time, your son is ready to fly off on his own.
It’s crazy how parenting works, but that’s how it goes.
In our case, my son used to need my wife and I to survive. Now we’re the ones calling him to say “hey, what’s going on, can you talk with us with for a few minutes.” He laughs and says “sure.”
We call our daughter too and when she says she can’t come home for spring break because she’s got plans to go to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. to do research for her honors presentation, we try to entice her to come home by saying, “we’ll make your favorite food.” She, of course, gently holds her ground. We’re lucky though. We still have an younger son still at home with us, but in a few years he too will be off to make his own dreams come true.
I wish our son would call more, but it’s interesting to see the man he’s become. In many respects, he’s become just like my wife and me, while at the same time, nothing like us. He’s his own man.
I worry about him, but I couldn’t be happier for him too. He’s challenging himself in ways I could have never expected. In short, he’s becoming a man. Happy 19th Birthday pal!