Thursday, October 26, 2006
It is early 1995. My little boy has just drawn a self-portrait for his dad and me, and I have printed on the picture that “J. wants us to keep this even when he goes to college.” In his six year-old mind, going to college is a nebulous day almost forever away. It is definitely forever away to me. After all, I have a house to clean, meals to make, treats to gather for the school party, a younger child to care for, and shots to schedule. It feels as though he will always be six and will always wear Ninja Turtle pajamas.
It is October 2006. My little boy has walked in the door and said, “Mom? Here are the forms. We have to have the money in by Friday.” Without pausing, he drops the forms on the counter, heads off to his room, plops his book bag on his bed and turns on music. I pick up the glossy forms. We will be ordering a cap, gown, and graduation announcements. A knot forms in my throat. I realize that “forever away” is rolling around swiftly.
That night, I sit in the chair I used to rock him in and try to grasp what has been happening in our family for the last two years. Our daughter is a sophomore in college, and now he is making plans to go, too. I say to myself, “He is really going.” I cannot help feeling melancholy.
But in my heart’s rich memories, I will always be able to feel his soft, straight hair, feel his fingers loosen their grip on the book he is holding while sleeping, and feel his breath on my neck as I carry him to bed and carefully arrange his covers. He will always be my little boy, but I am so proud of the man he has become.
He looks rather angelic in both pictures here, doesn't he?
(Actually, he looks exactly like his dad.)