Sunday, June 2, 2013

18 & Still Fighting It

Eighteen comes crashing into my world today. 4:05 p.m. to be exact. It’s stealing the childhood of my first-born.
My only son. 
He fits the part. Tall, broad-shouldered. Handsome. Intelligent. Funny. Kind. Well-spoken. Independent. I feel his beard stubble when I kiss him good night, good morning, goodbye.
I’ve spent the past 18 years reminding myself that my job was to prepare him for adulthood. I know that he belongs to God and always has. Unfortunately, my head and my heart rarely agree.
Along the way, I’ve taught him some really important stuff: how to tie his shoes (somewhat delayed because he liked Velcro), write his name, ride a bike (sorry about the broken leg, Sweetie), hold open doors, drive (and communicate with other drivers), type using the home keys.
Our conversations run deep and include such topics as: the ways in which “Seinfeld” has impacted society, my solution to the “Lord of the Rings” plot, the inherent danger in misplaced modifiers, how neither of the major political parties represent any of us, the significant contributions of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, why the original Star Trek captain is still the best one.
It’s not fair the way this happens. I mean, I finally figure out how to strap him into a car seat in the minivan and suddenly he’s pulling his Grand Marquis out of the driveway.
A few days after Nicholas was born, my sister sent a greeting card with a list of 129 things I needed to teach my new son. This morning, I found it in his baby book. It’s a pretty good list, and I have done well on some of them: No. 22 (how to order pizza), No. 26 (rock & roll), No. 28 (God), No. 45 (wash your hands), No. 49 (how to mow the lawn), No. 58 (toilet training), No. 62 (the Pledge of Allegiance), No. 78 (peanut butter), No. 91 (the joy of grandparents), No. 118 (cookies!).  
Nick, since you’re an adult now, I’m not going to remind you to eat at least one green vegetable a day, apply sunscreen, put your plate in the dishwasher, don’t bite your nails, make your bed, clean the litter box, use the weed eater, finish your homework, don’t forget your backpack, put the lid down, wear your retainer, wash your clothes, lock the door, just say “no,” put away your shoes before I trip over them, exercise, comb your hair, dry your hands, drive carefully, use shampoo, turn off the television, go outside, be nice to your sister.

Here’s my advice today:
Eat chocolate chip cookies as soon as they come out of the oven.
If a cat’s asleep in your lap, don’t get up.
Sit outside to watch a thunderstorm.
Turn up the music.
Add extra cheese.
Don’t give up chocolate milk. It IS an adult beverage.
Stand up unless God tells you to get on your knees.
If you’re in the middle of a good book, read all night.
Wear whatever’s comfortable.
Laugh often. And loudly.
Don’t bother going to bed until you’re really sleepy.
Get sand between your toes.

Happy Birthday, George.

“It’s OK, you don’t have to pay. I’ve got all the change.”
– Ben Folds
"Still Fighting It"

Nicholas, 5

1 comment:

  1. You make me cry, and be proud, and be full of wonder at your writing and passion. Thank you, parent.