Love You, Too

So, Elder is graduating in three weeks. I just counted. I shouldn’t have done that.

And we have been trying to convince him that he actually needs to involve himself in the college process. He has proven successfully resistant, even though he will be attending Mizzou with Big Guy, his best friend since grade school.

So, last week, he and I had fallen into a common recent argument…

“We have to finish choosing your residence hall, Elder,” I insisted, my voice rising. “So, you need to take the math placement test.”

“I know. I will.” He shoved his nose deeper into his book. “Just not tonight.”

“No, Elder,” I kept at him. “You can’t just keep waiting. You can’t just keep expecting us to do the work for you. And you have to take the math test before we can finish the contract. Big Guy has finished everything. Are his parents having to do all of the steps for him?”

“No,” Elder shouted, jerking onto his feet to pace towards the door. “No, because Big Guy is ready to get out. I’m not ready to get out.”

“Oh.” Suddenly subdued, I gazed at the young man glaring at me from his impressive height. “Well.” I offered him a smile. “I love you, too, Elder.”

But he wasn’t prepared to back down too quickly. “Sometimes I think I’m about ready to get out.” He shoved his fists onto his hips. I just continued to smile at him. His shoulders slumping, he returned to the sofa, accepting the laptop I handed him. “The other kids are just ready to get out.”

“I wish you could stay forever, Elder,” I told him, quietly. “But I know you have to leave.”

I cupped the back of his head in my palm, leaning towards him to press a kiss against his curly blonde hair. “Stop,” he said, faking sourness. “I’m still not happy.”

But one corner of his mouth lifted slightly.

Sometimes, we forget, us parents. We forget. Life is hard, even at the age of eighteen. Change is hard, even at the age of eighteen. Leaving is hard.

Even at the age of eighteen.

And letting go is hard.

Even at the age of forty-two.

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Locker of Love

Apparently, a young couple in the freshman class meets at Younger’s locker for a few moments between classes to whisper giggling secrets and gaze into one another’s eyes.

So, one day, Younger announced to me in his best commercial voice, “”Mom, the space in front of my locker is more romantic than a field of daisies blanketed in moonlight and filled with rainbows and puppies.”

I have no idea where he learned the flowery language.

I’m afraid I may have a clue as to the sarcasm…

I Don’t Remember

The other day, Younger and I sat in the cab of the truck, waiting for one baseball game or the other to near starting time. Unable to entertain himself as I was by staring mindlessly into the middle distance, Younger decided to watch a video on his phone.

“Just put the square block in the square hole,” he muttered at the small screen. “I’ve never understood why that is so hard. Put the block in the hole with the same shape.”

I leaned over to view a baby attempting to stuff blocks into a cube with different shaped cutouts. “Our brains take a bit to develop that skill, Younger. You weren’t stuffing square blocks into square holes when you were six months old.”

“Ah, yes,” he said, in the far off tone of reminiscence. “I believe I was. I remember that time vividly.”

“Do you?” I shot him a grin. “You were still breastfeeding.”

He tilted his head. “Ah, yes, I remember that time vaguely.”

That’s what I thought.

And fervently hope.

Because that’s just better for all of us.

This Is a Test

Today, I thought I would share a story from 2002…

When I arrived at the doctor’s office for Younger’s three-year well check-up, the receptionist handed me a clipboard. After settling into an empty seat, I glanced at the questionnaire, somewhat dismayed that Younger’s participation would be required. But I followed the instructions, pointing at pictures and listening to answers.

Then he had to find various body parts and the questionnaire specifically instructed that they be attached to my body. We managed eyes, ears, nose, hand and feet without any difficulty. We were smiling and happy — until I asked him about my stomach. Suddenly, I found my face suffocated in the folds of my white cotton shirt as Younger searched for his directed goal.

“Younger,” I gasped, struggling to tug the hem of my shirt to its usual position well below my waistline.

“What?” he asked innocently. “I found your belly.”

So, with great composure, I circled the “yes, my child found two or more body parts” and moved on to the next question which had me attempting to successfully balance on one foot for longer than three seconds in the middle of a crowded waiting room.

I know who these people are testing and it is not the children.

The Easter Bunny

Neither Elder nor Younger ever believed in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

Or the Tooth Fairy or leprechauns.

So, in kindergarten, when asked to write a letter to the Easter Bunny, Younger’s natural tendency to resist “silly” adult requests surfaced in sarcasm.

He wrote:

“Dear Easter Bunny,

Do you reely wrok with Santa Clas? if you do akst him where lepercons live?

Love,

Younger”

The Easter Bunny never answered. Neither did Santa Claus, for that matter. So Younger still doesn’t know where the leprechauns live.

But he still expects chocolate in his basket.

Happy Easter from all of us to all of you!!