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."