Time Flies

I took my son parking-lot driving several weeks ago. He’s signed up to take driver’s ed over summer break, and I thought he should get in a little practice time before the big event. We’d done the exact same thing with his older sister. So I figured “no big deal” when we pulled into the empty high school parking lot. I put the van in park and climbed out, entering the passenger side while he slid over into the driver’s seat.

Over the past year, my boy has undergone a lot of changes. In my opinion, it seems boys’ pubescent changes occur more quickly and dramatically than girls’. When I look at his school picture from the beginning of the school year, vs. how he looks now at the end of the year, I’m stunned.

His face has lost most of its baby-like softness, appearing more toned. And there’s a whisper of dark hair skipping above his upper lip. He’s shot up in height, starting out the year shorter than me, and is now five inches taller. He’s developing muscles, which he enjoys flexing in front of my face whenever he gets the chance. (What is it with boys and flexing their biceps? My brothers used to do the same thing!)

Most shocking has been the sudden onset of his “man-voice.” What happened to that squeaky in-between phase? I swear boys are just skipping that phase all together now!

(Remember Pete in the Brady Bunch? “Time to Change”)

But as bizarre as all that other stuff has been, NOTHING has freaked me out as much as seeing my BABY behind the wheel of our van.

“This is too weird. I can’t do this. You have to trade me back seats,” I’d said.

He’d given me a look. “Mom. C’mon!”

“I’m serious. This is freaking me out. You’re not old enough to drive a car!”

“But you did this with Ashleigh at the same age!”

“It doesn’t matter. I can’t explain it, but it just doesn’t feel right.”

He’d refused to budge, and after taking some deep breaths, I’d finally calmed down.

As I directed him to drive in large circles around the lot, I thought about what he’d said. It was true. I’d done the exact same thing with his older sister. So why was I freaked out over having
him do the same thing at the same age?

Is this why the youngest child in a family sometimes takes longer to “grow up”? Is it because we freaked out parents try to hang onto our “babies” as long as we can?

As the left-hand circles he drove got smaller and smaller, I thought about how time with my kids, AS kids, is getting shorter and shorter. I remember when they were little, and I was doing the full-time stay-at-home mom deal. We’d flow through our days, playing, attending toddler gym & art classes, running errands. Occasionally a smiling older person would walk up, delighting in the antics of my little darlings, as they shoved clothing racks aside to play tag in stores while I exasperatedly tried to shop.

I’d puff out sighs, feeling exhausted. And they’d always say something like, “Enjoy them while they’re little like this. The time goes by so quickly.” Then a bittersweet smile would flicker across their lips as they’d turn away. At the time, I couldn’t relate at all. When my oldest finally reached the age of five, it felt like it had taken five long years to get there. But once the kids got into school, without me noticing at first, time started to speed up.

Now, I can’t believe I have a 17 and an almost-15 year old. How did it suddenly get to the point where I have only a few short years left with them? It’s like the realization has finally struck. Wait a minute. This is real. They’re actually growing up on me. Instead of getting kids to share a toy, or settling an argument over a T.V. program, I’m facing a lot scarier stuff. Like handing over the car keys.

Time IS really starting to fly. I’ve decided my new goal is to focus on savoring each precious day with them. Yup. I’m gonna treasure every little—oh my gosh! I just realized something. In another year my youngest will be 16, and he can start dating! What were we thinking? Sixteen isn’t old enough to date! No. Definitely not. Uh-uh. Not happening. We’re going to have to talk about this.

Image by Cosmic Spanner

Who Says I Can't?

I saw this really funny Mother’s Day card back in May. It had a picture of a 1950’s June Cleaver style mom, complete with pearl necklace—her arm around a pouting, incredibly sad-looking little boy. And the caption read something like: “You stay right here sweetie, while mommy goes and gives that mean old bully a smackdown.”

That totally cracked me up! Because, it’s so true. Any mom will tell you, mess with our kids and you’ll bring out our inner lioness.

And it’s not just confined to dealing with bullies. It makes no difference if they’re toddlers, or teens (who are bigger than we are), the instinct to protect our cubs arises in any situation where we feel our child is in peril.

The other day my 14-year-old son, Joshua’s, soccer team was playing in the pouring rain. While we parents stood on the sidelines, sinking into the mud, I suddenly noticed Joshua double over, then raise his hand in a request to come off the field.

He NEVER does that.

He sat down on the bench, remaining doubled over, his arms wrapped tightly around his ribs.

“Why is Joshua doing that? Did anybody see what happened?” I asked anxiously.

I received several negative murmurs in response.

“Is it his ribs? Did someone hit him in the ribs?”


“Didn’t see.”

I waited several long minutes, my eyes glued to Joshua’s still doubled-over form.

“I’m going over there,” I announced, and began marching around the field’s perimeter.

“You can’t do that.”

I was halted by another team member’s father.

“Why not.”

“You have to wait and see if the coach waves you over.”


“That’s just how it works.”

“But the coach isn’t even looking at him! He’s watching the game!”

The man shrugged sympathetically.

“Well that’s just stupid!” I fumed, sloshing back through the mud. “What if something is really wrong? What if one of his ribs is broken?” What if he needs emergency medical attention? (Have I mentioned before that I tend to have a somewhat, er high-strung personality type? Anyway…)

I stood there waiting a few more minutes. Joshua remained doubled over.

“This is ridiculous,” I finally said. “That’s it. I’m going over there.”

“Don’t do it.” Another dad stood in my path.

“Why can’t I go over there?” I was whining now.

He proceeded to share a story with me, about how when he was 15, and playing baseball, a boy on his team got hit by the ball. The boy’s teammates helped him off the field and onto a bench in the dugout. The boy’s mother raced over and said (in front of everyone) “Are you okay, sweet pea! Let mama check out that bump?” Naturally, the kid was mortified. Probably scarred for life.

“But I would never call Joshua, ‘sweet pea’!” I huffed.

The dad just shook his head at me.

I stood there several more minutes, sighing dramatically every few seconds.

“Would you like me to go over and check on him?” he finally offered, taking pity on me. (Or possibly hoping to escape my dramatic sighing.)

I turned hopeful eyes toward him. “Would you?!”

The nice man trudged around to the other side of the field. I saw him speak briefly to Joshua—still doubled over—then he trudged back.

“Well? Should I call an ambulance?”

“It’s just a stomach ache,” he grinned.

“Oh. Uh—thanks.” I mumbled sheepishly.

For the remainder of the game, though, I wondered why it was okay for another player’s dad to walk over there, but not the player’s mom. Weird ‘sweet pea’ mom story aside, who made up this unwritten rule that if a kid gets hurt on the field, it’s not okay for the mom to check on her very own child?

I posed that very question to my son later, as we drove home from the game.

My boy stopped toweling dry his hair, turned his beautiful dark eyes in my direction, and answered me. “Kids did, mom. Kids made up that rule.”


A Little Something to Brighten Your Day...

Nothing like a little Julie Andrews to brighten your day. A friend sent me this YouTube link. The video was made in the Antwerp , Belgium Central (Train) Station on March 23, 2009.

". . . with no warning to the passengers passing through the station, at 8:00 a.m., a recording of Julie Andrews singing 'Do, Re, Mi' began to play on the public address system. As the bemused passengers watch in amazement, some 200 dancers began to appear from the crowd and station entrances. They created this amazing stunt with just two rehearsals." Enjoy!