My problem is I don’t have a reference point for any of this stuff. As soon as I figure out the solution to one problem – See Dad’s adherence to any other toilet paper that doesn’t have a dancing bear on the package – another bigger and more difficult problem pops up.
I attended a writing conference once, and the keynote speaker explained to her audience of columnists that deadlines are like a windmill. The arm of the windmill knocks you on the head, and you think, “Whew, done with that one.” But before you can get that last word out, here comes the next arm of that stupid windmill.
Just when I got the hang of a sleep schedule with my oldest, he started teething. And by the time I had placed all dangers out of reach of my newly crawling youngest, he started walking. When I got the hang of pickup and drop-offs for school, my oldest started high school. When we got out of those awkward adolescent years, then came the hormones and all the crap that goes along with that part of growing up. When I finally figured out Facebook, Instagram steps in. I don’t even want to get started on Snapchat.
Just a few months ago, my husband I were outside talking to our oldest. He was unguarded. I don’t remember the conversation as much as feeling a sense of relief and silently thinking, “He does love us. No, no. He likes us. Which is even better.” It was just two years earlier that we were arguing in the morning drop-off lane at his high school. He wanted more freedom. I wanted him to understand why he was too young for more freedom. He opened the door to get out of the car, and like every other morning of morning drop off, I said, “I love you. Have a good day.” I thought he was going for the silent treatment, so I repeated, “Jacob, I said I love you.” Before he slammed the door, he replied, “Bye, Psycho.”
I was shocked. Now understand that Jacob is my first, so I wasn’t prepared for this. I mean all the other teenagers said that and worse to their parents, but not my child. My child would never do that. Not to me. We have a great relationship. They love me. They think I’m funny. They respect the boundaries I set, because they know it’s for their good. I know, I’m an idiot.
On the day we were outside talking to our oldest, I realized a shift had taken place. He is growing up and maturing. He’s capable of making good choices and does, for the most part. As I was checking the “made it through high school with a minimal amount of emotional damage” box on my mental child-raising checklist, the next arm of that damn windmill hit me. We didn’t even get to enjoy the fact that we made it through the rebellious high school years before time reminded me that now, it’s time for college.
I’ll enjoy the last few weeks he’s home before helping him move into his new life on campus. I’ll try not to think about how much I will miss him. I’ll try to remember how exciting this time is for him. Also, I hate windmills.
Comments? You can email Becky Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org. Andrews and Angel Kane are the brains behind Telling Tales, a weekly column in The Democrat.