The people's voice of reason

Tears and Laughter: Where The Little Boys Go

I had been handling things pretty well, until we went to the Piggly Wiggly last week. And I’m hardly alone. There are mothers everywhere feeling like I feel. It’s the road all parents walk. We know from the time they enter the world that they are going to grow up. That is our entire purpose, preparing that child to be independent.

I managed to get my oldest daughter down the aisle without falling apart. And the second daughter moved out at 20 without me having a complete breakdown. Now she is married too. Part of what carried me through their transitions into adulthood, was their little brother and sister still keeping me busy. Still needing me.

One of the very best parts of living for mamas are their children, and their growing up doesn’t change that. A woman with several adult daughters forms a tight circle. I assume it is the same with several sons, but I only have this one.

He was born a little early, but healthy. And as soon as it was finally just me and him alone in the room together where I could check him out – this new little person I had been waiting to meet, I said to him what we all do when we meet our kids for the first time. I said, “hey…”

He smiled. They say newborn babies can’t smile, but it looked like a smile to me, and just like that, I was wrapped. He blended seamlessly into our growing family.

He has always been well-behaved and calm. We have been through all of the phases. He was a Spiderman fan early on and had a stuffed monkey named Joe. Then he liked Legos. The dining room became known as Lego World and the entire table, side board, and piano was covered with his creations for years. Everything had its own detail. He built a church complete with coins in the offering plate on a table in front of the pulpit.

Then one day, like a fall breeze blowing unexpectedly through in late summer, he announced he was putting his Legos in the attic. And he did.

We went through airsoft guns, and Xboxes, and camping. There were four-wheelers, a dirt bike, and boats. He likes to drive tractors. And one of my best days ever was when he sold his motorcycle, content for now with a truck.

He has given us no trouble, considering the hell he could have given us just as a result of being ours. But he has not so far. He has been a good son.

Of course it has not been without its struggles. I was his interpreter and translator for the first several years. He had a speech delay, and children who have difficulty speaking often have difficulty with reading. We struggled through that, and dyslexia. The sound of him reading fluently will probably always be one of my favorite songs.

McCay graduates next month. It hit me when he went to the Piggly Wiggly last week. We were only there together because we had been to the bank to open him an account. He seldom has reason to ride with me anywhere anymore. And it occurred to me that this could be his last trip to the Pig with me. It seems like only a couple of years ago I was still lifting him into the buggy while I shopped. I don’t know how the slow days slipped so quickly away.

As we were checking out, I noticed the man ahead of me in line – a man a few years my senior, was helping his mother with her groceries. Seeing that helped.

I don’t know where the little boys go, but the sons are for forever.


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