My little boy is not so little anymore

by SARAH MORRISON STEPHENS

Most parents out there are counting down the days to the start of the new school year, I know.

Me? Not so much.

This new school year heralds the end to Charlie’s high school days. In just a few months after graduation 2014, he will be leaving for another state to a college hundreds of miles away. Yes, this is just a part of life. I raised him for this day. I knew it was coming.

But I am beginning to understand with crystal clarity why my mother fell to the ground, sobbing, the day I drove away headed to college. I saw her fall in the rearview mirror, and immediately swung back around and hugged her even tighter and longer. I thought it was kind of silly back then. I find nothing funny about it now.

Mom had already watched two daughters leave for college. I was the baby.

I was blessed with only one child. I have only one time to remember all of this and cherish all of this…sigh. Deeper sigh.

So,I have compiled some things that I will try very hard to appreciate in the coming year.

An unmade bed and the argument, “Why should I make it up when I am just going to get it messy again tonight?”

Twelve pairs of tennis shoes, football cleats, wrestling shoes, ROTC shoes scattered across a 3,000 square foot house and he can’t find any of them.

Dirty dishes, always, even when I think I have found all of them, and wondering if he will ever learn to do this by himself.

“Mom, can I get $20 out of your wallet?”

“Mom, come to think of it, can I have $40?”

The obnoxious noise his phone makes when he gets a text message. So often, in fact, the parrot has learned to mimic it clearly. Well, scratch that. The parrot will continue on with this obnoxious noise long after Charlie is at college.

The sound of 20 teenagers by the barn, with their music I detest, having a bottlerocket war and running through the garden after being told a thousand times to stay out of the garden.

A flood of water leading from the hot tub to the guest bathroom with kids running in and out.

Wet towels left on the floor, with “I will clean that up in a minute,” though I know he never will.

Morning arguments over “Just five more minutes of sleep, please Mom!”

“I don’t want to drive the Expedition, please let me have the keys to the Mustang. I will be careful! I promise.”

“I don’t know how that scratch got on your Mustang.”

“The keys to the Mustang are hanging up Mom, but don’t use it. It is out of gas.”

“So, can I have the keys to the Expedition?”

Used up Itunes cards left all around the computer.

“Mom, can I have another Itunes card?”

“Mom, don’t wash my clothes for me anymore, I can do it myself.”

Next morning: “Mom, I have no clean clothes???”

“Mom, all my other friends are allowed to go to parties where there will be alcohol. This isn’t fair!” as he storms out saying I am the meanest parent ever. Sorry, Charlie, fair or not, that isn’t happening until you are 21 at least with permission. Period.

Standing with the refrigerator door open for 20 minutes moaning there is nothing to eat after I just spent $300 at Winn Dixie.

“Football practice wore me out Mom, if you loved me you would go and bring me back something to drink.”

“And if you really loved me you would fix me a sandwich, too.” And I do.

Football games. Even those where he sits on the bench.

Wrestling matches. Even those he doesn’t win.

Parent report days. (Cringe)

Watching him meticulously dress himself on ROTC uniform days. He will never know how many times I have to walk out of the room because I am about to cry just watching the man he is becoming.

Empty animal food bowls despite, “Mom, I promise, I will feed them every day and take care of them.”

Watching him cut the grass and weedeat. Who am I going to hire to do that when he is gone? (laugh,snicker)

This could be an unending list. But simply put, the coming year means the last first day of high school, the last football game, the last wrestling matches, the last ring of a high school bell, the last Prom,  the last giant sleepovers …. You get the picture. So I am going to treasure it. I am going to Thank God for the opportunity.  I know that so much more awaits Charlie and our lives God willing.

Until next time…

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Posted by on Jul 27 2013. Filed under Editorial Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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