January 21, 2012

goodbye Peter Pan

I am losing a boy. No, he's not moving out, getting married, or dying of some tropical disease. This boy is growing up. He's been tottering on the edge of man-ness for some time, but he also enjoys spending time with Peter Pan. Do you know what I mean? He never reads my blog, so I think I can safely say, (without rocking his boat) that he has fought growing up tooth and nail but now I see what my son probably doesn't. He is becoming a man. Whether he likes it or not.

(Do you remember being 19? I think 19 is the hardest age to parent. My husband said he was a toad at 19, and I know I was. 19 should be erased and kids should just bound from being 18 to 20. (Several of those teen numbers are a pain, but 19? Yuck.))

Yesterday was....bittersweet. Not only did I see my boy growing up, I saw, in my heart, a young man leaving. I've been through this twice before so I know the signs. They start showing signs of man-ness, then suddenly they are too big to fit in your house. They grow restless and their eye is focused out "there". The whole wide world begins to whisper, come. spread your wings. fly....and then before you know it, empty boxes start appearing and treasured possessions start disappearing...I am so excited to see the man my boy is becoming. So deeply thankful. But it hurts. I didn't expect that. I thought by round 3 this leaving thing would be a piece of cake. I guess you never get used to having major surgery and having parts removed, do you?

Goodness, did I just get side-tracked. I started out wanting to tell you what my son did yesterday to show me he's growing up. Maybe I want to avoid that bit because it showed me something about myself too. I am not the independent, I-don't-need-nobody-no-how person I want to be.

Anyway... you may or may not know I am recovering from back surgery. This recovery was supposed to take 6 weeks and we are now well into 17 months. This recovery has affected our family, our marriage, and the cleanness of our house. My 10 year old told me he can't remember me before I didn't hurt. Needless to say, we all want mommy to avoid another little slip and fall.

And here's another "anyway". I don't get out much in the winter. My life slows down and I'm often, often home, with only one sweet little face to keep me company. This year is even worse because my van is not happy. I'm under house arrest and my man/boy knows it. He knows I need to get out of here once in awhile. He knows I need to see something other than the 4 walls of our home in order to maintain my sanity. He knows I need to see trees and birds and breath crisp, fresh air. Daily if I can. So, yesterday, even though it was only in the 20's, and the roads were snowy and covered with black ice, and the wind was blowing, he only slightly sighed when I asked him to walk with me. Out there.

The sweet part was the way we walked. He stood right next to me the entire time, letting me hold his bicep in a death grip so I couldn't slip. At one point I asked him, "Lovey, are you embarrassed by this? Having your old mother cling to your arm while you walk down the road?"

"No. Why would you think that?" He sounded surprised. This coming from a person who is sometimes consumed with being "cool". Personally, I don't think it's cool for a boy to be seen walking down the road with a middle-aged woman clinging to his arm. But, it never even entered his head to be embarrassed.

Then, after another mile or so, I asked, "Lovey, do you feel like a nurse's aid? Taking the grandma out for a stroll?"

"No, mom. Let's just call me a friendly helper." And he grinned at me.

I grinned back, but I had to swallow two lumps while I did it. One lump of thanksgivng and one lump of sorrow. Am I normal?


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