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


Michelle Zhang said...

He can start dating at 16??? My parents have forbid me to interact at all with the male species until I'm at least 21. :]

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Ha, ha, ha! Michelle you are too funny! I think your true calling may be humor writing. ;)