As I drove into the cul-de-sac yesterday evening, I noticed our neighbor’s daughter being pushed in a Cub Mobile by a child I did not recognize. As I slowed down, said boy ran up to my car with a huge grin on his face. It was then I realized that he was MY son.
I had been preparing myself for this. I mean, Ken had texted a photo of Christian mid-haircut. Mid-chop. I was still surprised. All through dinner, we kept commenting on how different he looked, how mature he had suddenly become.
Since he was a tot, and his blond ringlets began to sprout, we’ve been reluctant to give into to more than just a trim. We relied upon Christian’s mop of toehead curls to pick him out of a crowd. This is the end of an era. Time to grow up.
One must choose your battles, so they say. Especially as a parent.
When a child is younger, it’s easy to encourage him to make the right choice, your choice. So sweet, so innocent.
But, as time passes, there’s a turning point when he realizes he has a say. San Francisco, July, 2008: Seven-year-old Christian had a say. With his very own spending money, he proclaimed, he would invest in whatever and however much he wanted to from the hotel vending machine. Not my battle. Go for it, son.
The current version of Christian’s bedroom is also not my battle. There are minimal standards (after all, who do you think I am ?): No dirty clothes, trash, or food. That’s it. Otherwise, it’s a man cave-in-training. His refuge.
Christian begins middle school next week. There will be battles. As parents, we must consider each one carefully. Sigh.
Wow. My niece, Aliette, is a MARRIED woman. All in the blink of an eye. She grew up, went to college (and graduate school), and wed George in an intimate ceremony late last week in Scotland.
When my eldest brother, Bob, announced his wife, Marisol, was pregnant, I was over the moon. I was going to be an aunt! At seventeen! That was the coolest thing ever! Especially since I always thought one had to be old and married to become an aunt or uncle, but I didn’t. I counted down the days to her birth and played out in my mind what it would be like to meet her for the very first time, to hold her.
As the years passed, I may not have been able to share in those fleeting, fast moments as she grew into an adult as often as I would have liked to, but that’s okay. Aliette is beautiful and smart and will do well in life. I mean, she already has. I look forward to one day visting her and her love in Scotland, England, South Africa or wherever they find themselves settling in.
So, congratulations to Aliette and George! Here’s to a lifetime together, with all of its ups and downs (I can say that–I’ve logged almost twenty years in matrimony), great adventures, tasty meals, unforgettable sunsets, and peaceful reflection, when the house is finally calm after the day’s bustle, and you talk quietly and laugh at the nonsense that had muddled your routine. What counts is that you found each other and have each other. Now and forever.
(Photo courtesy of Pieter Ferns)
No, not those funnels. Rather the type that invaded our house last Tuesday. Hard, plastic, evil funnels attached to cute, cuddly puppies. Better known as Elizabethan collars, they are really torture devices for both master and pet; they bruise legs, mark up walls, and have turned both the dogs and monkeys into intolerant, impatient, crabby, crazy creatures. When in her kennel, Jasmine now barks incessantly, her high pitched, “I need attention and now” bark. Unless, she is tired or asleep. Sweet, lovable, “all I want to be is a good dog” Kona has converted into an instigator. The problem? They are prohibited from the rough and tumble play that only canine siblings can appreciate.
People suggested alternatives. They mean well, but anything less would be toast and rendered useless as we attempted to stop a frustrated dog from ripping open a suture. Consider that within the first twenty-four hours, we had reinforced the evil funnels with generous amounts of duct tape.
So we walk to manage the chaos. Walking is both good mental and physical exercise. My parents walk for hours at a time. They have walked all over the world for more than fifty years. I have meant to ask what their most interesting walk has been. Christian tugs the girls along on separate jaunts around our neighborhood each morning. Our evening routine once again involves a walk. We reconnect, which is important. It makes us better parents. Even time away from the pups includes walking; our tour of national parks and monuments this summer will involve hiking.
Kona and Jasmine are now genetic cul-de-sacs. Ken says one day they will thank us for this. But not anytime in the immediate future.