Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Final Season

This is a piece I wrote for Faithwriters a few weeks ago. Since it didn't win (surprise, surprise!) I'm free to post it here. The topic we were assigned was "adolescence." It's ok, I guess - not my favorite writing, anyway.I did get several nice comments from other writers on the site - probably all mothers, I'm guessing! Oh, and Will isn't 15 yet, but he will be in less than 3 months. I thought saying "Fifteen" had a nice ring to it, even if he wasn't technically that old at the time of writing.

I tried to find a "mature" photograph of Will to put with this blog, but gave up. This one definitely doesn't fit the piece! He took this of Ben and himself the one day they were at camp together in June.

Fifteen years ago I gave birth to my first son. He was a big baby, as far as babies go, weighing in at a hefty 9lbs, 3oz. But his entire head still fit in the palm of my hand and his newborn clothes that I had waited for so long to dress him up in, swallowed him completely. But, like all babies do, he grew too fast and soon he was rolling and then crawling around. But at night, he’d still snuggle in my lap and he fit just perfectly in the curve of my arms. We’d rock and rock and watch the moonbeams make patterns on the wall.

And then he grew some more and soon had plenty to say to me. He’d follow his dad around, plastic tools in hand, and I felt a pang as I knew that he now he was beginning to separate from me. But he’d still let me hug him sometimes and at night he’d always want a kiss before bedtime. More often than not, he’d end up crawling into bed with me before morning arrived. We’d snuggle and I’d inhale his sweet scent, hoping I would be able to recall it later on, but knowing I never would.

I can still see him on his first day of school, with his red shirt and brand new jeans. He was so excited to go, but willingly let me kiss him good-bye and even slipped a “kiss” in his pocket for later. The next year he would only kiss me after looking around to make sure none of his friends were watching. The year after that he would consent only to a wave. My heart ached, but I knew this was the way it must go.

The years rolled into one another - birthday parties, bugs, ER trips, baseball games, vacations, pets, Christmases, school - and he grew. At times my heart wistfully remembered the sweet baby, now fully an active, tow-headed boy. But yet, each stage of life brought new enjoyment, too, and I didn’t miss my baby too much. Not usually, anyway.

But now - now it’s different. Standing in my kitchen is this man. But he’s not a man - yet. But the boy is gone. He’s suddenly taller than I am and much stronger. His face has broadened and his voice has deepened. He’s what they call an adolescent, a teenager. I suppose he is that. My food bill and the vibrations from his stereo through my kitchen ceiling can attest to that ! Very soon he will complete the growing journey and be fully a man.

This stage of life is the last one. Oh, there will be other stages as he transports through his college years into young adulthood, marriage, early fatherhood, middle-age, and then the winter of his life. But this stage, adolescence, is the last one where I get a front row seat. After this stretch, as he crosses the bridge from being a boy to becoming a man, he won’t be mine anymore. More than likely, another woman will become the center of his attention, which is as it should be. And even if that should not happen, parents tend to take their final bow as the child fully enters adulthood. Knowing this, I am savoring these sweet, lingering days of adolescence when my boy is still my boy - for just a few more seasons.

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