Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Last Days

Saturday afternoon, my husband took down our basketball goal. The one where this kid used to play before school and after school and whenever his dad would play with him. Occasionally, even his mom was known to throw down a rough game of "horse."

One time, he got so frustrated with himself, he wrote a note and taped it to his basketball that said, “I Quit! Forever!” But he didn't quit forever, and although it was never his sport, he loved challenging himself to increase his vertical leap.

And as you can see, this boy could jump. But the quitting notice was so cute that we all still laugh about it, including Jordan.

Anyway, Jorge said when he began to take the goal down, he felt sad. I did, too.

The best way I can explain our melancholy is this: as you are rearing your children, you often move through developmental stages without realizing it.

For example, my kids were not difficult to potty train. There simply came a day when they wore their last diaper. That was it. I don’t remember that day, but it surely came and went. There was a last day for my son to shoot the ball in our driveway, too. I can’t remember when it was, but it came and went.
Sometimes we celebrate lasts, like the final trip to the orthodontist when the metal comes off!

But sometimes, the last day slips by you without much fanfare and then one day you wake up and realize you’ll never hear the “thump-thump” of the basketball in your driveway again, and a little crack forms in your heart, hidden where no one but God sees. You are left with no choice but to re-focus your thinking, move on and pretend it doesn’t hurt, but it does.

Jordan voted this year for the first time. He is not a little boy anymore, and he’s a very good young man with a sensitive heart and a strong sense of justice and compassion. And he is the silliest, singin’est thing you’ve ever seen. A true middle child ambiance-creator, if you know what I mean.

So I’m trying not to focus on last days but look toward first days—first degree, first job, first long-term girlfriend ... a wife ... a first grandchild? (Please, Lord, let it be in that order.) Who knows—we may put up a basketball goal in the driveway again someday!

*Edit: After Jordan voted, he came by this evening before he headed back to school and ate a Subway sandwich while we sat at the table with him and chatted. I announced to him that I had a special batch of homemade chocolate and white chip cookies for him, if he wanted them, when he left. He replied, "Yippy skippy!"

So later, when he started out the door, I handed him his cookies made with 17 cups of sentimental-Mom love, and do you know what he said to me?

"You have a really big eye booger, Mom."

55 comments:

Becky said...

DANG! Those eye boogers will get ya every time! LOL... was it maybe a tear? What a sweet post about your boy all grown up now. Reminds me off the book Let Me Hold You a Little Longer. A good read for moms at any stage of motherhood.

Tiff said...

LOL that's kids for ya!

Dena @ Green Acres said...

Oh Linda, I totally understand the cracks in the heart that you speak of. I'm going through the same thing. For me it's the silence. My daughters talked, fought, laughed and sang non-stop and now it's just - quiet. And at times, that silence is deafening. Yes, my son is here, but he's shy and not a talker (makes me wonder if he could really be my child LOL).

"Just Me - NC Beth" said...

Enjoyed your post...my girls are much older (34 and 38) so now we see our grandkids changing and growing...but I do have fond memories of those "changing times" with my girls...and some were right "turbulant"! Or so it seemed..

Patrice said...

Ahhahahahahahahaha, Yippy Skippy, them there eye boogers are always there at the most senitmental, ready for the big "I Love You" times!!

Too funny!

Merci said...

I have to take down the goal when they leave?? Oh no. Can't do it. That won't be happening. We'll just leave it up for whoever buys the house after us ... or for the grandkids, whichever comes first.

Merrie said...

Out of the mouth of babes.... and it's no wonder some of then are decapitated!
Love all the analogies and truths here... it touched those hidden cracks!

lmerie said...

{{{chuckle}}} Another phase of life moved through. Bittersweet to say the least.

Robin Lambright said...

I have to tell you, I so identify with your transitional feelings. My situation was a bit diferent but when my son moved out of our home and stepped out on his own it was such a panful proces for me. I like to call them delayed labor pains. It really is a birthing process of sorts, when they step out on there own and begin their adult life.
Great post!
Blessings
Robin

Huse Yo Mama said...

Those are some savory moments in the life of a mom. I love this!!! You have a really big eye booger, mom! That is hilarious!

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

This post makes me want to go cuddle my little boys. Perhaps that three year old fit throwing is a stage I will last through...

Mocha with Linda said...

Awww. This one got me right in the heart.

Of course you had to zing us at the end and make us laugh to dry the tears.

Smilingsal said...

That's a new one for me: "eye booger."

Isunji said...

Man... this is the sweetest post EVER! Love the way you describe transition, and it's so true that it happens so quickly... I can remember when each of my nephews and nieces were born... now one's in college and voted for the first time yesterday, three are in high school, one in middle school, 2 in elementary and on is going to preschool next year! In my mind they all just got here! Anyway, thanks and have a great day!

Debbie said...

Aw shoot. This is too sweet and sad and great. Since I have two seniors this year, I am feeling the sadness of the last things with us all living together. But I chose not to think about them. Off to make a nice drapery dress.

Tammy said...

Such a sweet post to your son.

I think you left out the "sending him off to school in pants you bought last month that are now too short." (which I just did)

Sounds like you have raised a fine young man!

Nadine said...

A big eye booger - doesn't that just sum it all up.

What I like about your blog is it's refreshing take on life. Thank you for sharing.

Susanne said...

Maaaan, we went through the same thing. And deciding whether the basketball net should come down was a major struggle. But the rust and one particular big wind made the decision for us. We just had the first vote, too, last month. Sigh.

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

I can always count on you to move me from sheding a tear to lose-my-breath laughing within two paragraphs.

I am trying so hard not to miss those "crack-in-your-heart" moments, but I already have. And they're so young still!

Right now, I am actually relishing the sound of them running through the house....shhh, don't tell them.

Angie Ledbetter said...

What a great post! My middle child who just turned 18 got to vote for the first time yesterday too. Great beginnings, and great globby eye boogery changes too. :)(But I bet your middle guy doesn't moon you to show his love!)

You've given your baby fine wings to fly, and I'm sure he'll visit his first nest often, especially with the yummy goodies to lure him home.

Maggie said...

That is hilarious! BOYS!!!

You should have kept the goal up, even if only just to look at it every once in a while! =)

Gwendolyn said...

*Sigh* I can already see so much of this kind of thing happening around here, and my oldest is only sixteen. Wasn't she just playing with her dollhouse yesterday?

I laughed out loud at the "eye boogers", though. :o)

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I have a sixteen year old and I can;t figure out how it all went by so fast. He's still here, but not a little boy anymore.

ann said...

OH man, Linda, I haven't had time to read blogs, and I miss coming here!!! That was the best ever. I was all teary for you, even thinking about my own babies and how stinkin' HARD it was to potty train my boys and hopefully Emily will be easier. But also knowing I'll be just as emotional about those milestones, bittersweet.

And then, you cheer me up and bring me joy with your eye booger! HAHAHAHA! You are the best, Linda!

Luanne said...

Loved this post!! It's probably a good thing that we don't always know when those "lasts" are--otherwise I would never get anything done because I would be running for kleenex for the nose and tears.

Just think--that may have just experienced the last time he ever tells you you have an eye booger!! Sniff sniff

RissaRoo said...

Oh, man...those little heart-cracks! I feel them, too. You're so proud of them and happy about how they're growing, and yet every little stage of growth is so precious and sad to see pass (well, *almost* every stage, anyway!). LOL about the eye booger.

Kingdom Mama said...

What an important reminder for me...as the mom of little ones. Great post, and as usual, thanks for the laugh!

Barbara H. said...

I go through so many of the same emotions with my own three, especially as the last one turned 15 this year and we just painted his bedroom from "baby boy blue and white" to chocolate brown and smoky blue and put a lot of the toys away.

And mine also can turn a sentimental moment into a laughable one at the blink of an eye. :-)

Greg C said...

Nothing worse than eye boogers. Except real ones. Great memories.

InTheFastLane said...

Gotta love how kids put it all into perspective :)

Dalyn (AKA The Queen of Quite Alot) said...

Sons...gotta love 'em. Mine are both young still, although the 14 year old is taller than me. Love your blog- the look, content, and pictures. Great job...I'm adding you to my sidebar *U*

Renna said...

Aw, you practically had me in tears until that last line, the one that made me spit out my coffee from laughing! ;-Þ

He sounds like an awesome young man, and from what I can see of the pictures, he looks like a very handsome young man. Some young woman will be mightily blessed one day to be his wife. :-)

Jonesey said...

My baby just began eating real food this week (5 months) and I already feel those pangs....

KelliGirl said...

This is a wonderful post. I loved how you wrote about the "lasts" that don't know are the lasts. They get lost and forgotten in the passing on to the next thing. The treasures of parenthood are certainly found in the small, almost unnoticed moments.

My kids are 10 and 13 and I am trying to soak up every moment with them because I know they'll be going to college before I know it!

Miscellaneous From Missy said...

I was practically crying throughout your post, and that last sentence totally snuck up on me. I snorted. Out loud. At work.

And then Becky's (the first commenter) "Dang, those eye boogers will get you every time."

I'm still gasping for air!

Carol said...

You are killing me! Awwww. I'm upset about the basketball goal for you. I'm a sentimental sap!

Chatty Kelly said...

Ah children, I almost had a tear in my eye. Luckily I didn't or your son might have thought it was an eye booger! LOL!

Great great writing today - even with the "edited" edition!

Ken Lee you as always!

Esthermay said...

The "I QUIT!... FOREVER!" looks exactly like my 5-year-old's writing. I showed her and then we scrolled down to Jordan in backyard and her little eyes got big: "Who's that, mama?"
omigosh! She's FIVE!!

So now I finish reading this and am confused. I've got two children who also voted for the first time this year (and for the RIGHT Candidate, THANK GOD!), one just learning to write and one still in PUll-Ups!
*sigh*
I feel like that lady dressed in weird yellow outfit in ZYRTEC commercial - one leg inside (for inside allergies) and one leg outside (for outside allergies)! OH -- !
AND the eyeboogers. After crying one's self to sleep over electoral college catastrophe, eyeboogers are like . ... like... (I'm at a loss.) Plentiful.

Brenda said...

This was such a sweet post. My kids are still young, and sometimes I wish they would just grow up. But I'm sure I'll miss this time when it's gone.

Brenda Susan said...

Wonderful post! So true too. My sons are 22 & 26, the eldest rec called me at work yesterday & wanted to meet at Taco Bell on his lunch break, he's a mailman. It was so sweet & a bit disconcerting to sit across from this handsome uniformed man & see both the man & the boy at the same time!

Mary said...

Last days can be sad. I kept my son's roller hockey gear in a closet for almost 2 years before I finally realized he probably wouldn't ever compete again. Sigh! Those were some fun times. But, last days are almost the same concept as "close one door, God opens another." This may have been a last day for the basketball net but I am certain that God has opened another door (way) for you to enjoy your son.

Smelling Coffee said...

Great story! Made me smile and cry a little at the same time. I'm sitting here right now on the frustrated side of my son's middle school homework, and your post reminded me that this, too shall pass, and I don't want to miss a minute of it. Thanks for the reminder. :-)

On Purpose said...

I loved reading this post today. As I am still in the "middle" of bringing up two little guys...I look forward to years of living and loving together. This post made me know God is in all things...even the love of a son who is so free to share with you EXACTLY what he sees!

Jules from "The Roost" said...

Girl I was getting ready to cry and I went into gasp of laughter! That is SO funny! Hey, my last daughter is single......maybe ;)

Gretchen said...

If not for the eye-booger, you'da been in a puddle of tears. Blessings on all your firsts to look forward to.

PJ said...

Loved the line, "and a little crack forms in your heart, hidden where no one but God sees." Powerful image!!

Kimberly said...

hee hee
Here I am feeling all warm and sentimental with you...and then the eye booger. hee hee. THAT is hilarious.

I have a silly-singing middle myself. She is so sweet and compassionate and such a goofball. :) I need to cherish every moment...she won't be five forever.

May God administer a little extra love to your sweet momma heart with a new little crack in it!
Love and blessings,
K :)

Probably your son. said...

Your son sounds like the best thing ever on Earth. He is probably what holds your whole family together. He is probably the funniest and the smartest and most athletic, and most gifted musically, and probably just succeeds at everything in general. You don't know how blessed you are.

Anonymous said...

Love the note on the baseketball, remember seeing notes like that when my boys were young, too funny!



Erin

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Dear "Probably": Your forgot "most humble." At least you didn't say "prolly" like he does in emails.

thouartloosed said...

You hit the exact feeling..."Lasts" that slip past us until one day we realize it's done.
What the heck is an eye booger?

Prolly yor sun said...

He's prolly too perfect to worry about perfect grammar.

Pam from alertandorientedx4 said...

Sniff...I remember now knowing the "last" time I was nursing one of my babies would be the last time...sigh

Queen-Size funny bone said...

How genuine that note on the basketball. A creative way to let that frustration out. Your children are wonderful. It is too bad they must grow although that is the goal from the very beginning.

Mariel said...

oh, I love it! I cried, i laughed...I really laughed! thank you for this reminder to cherish the moments...and for the reminder to laugh along the way!! heehee!