Saturday, March 11, 2017

You May Ask Yourself, How Did I Get Here?

So, my son has his learner's permit. He drove for the first time today. My little boy, the dark-haired baby we brought home from the hospital all those years ago (it feels like a couple months...) is now a permitted driver. I took him out when we got home from the registry (don't get me started on the three-hour ordeal *that* was...) for a quick spin around the block, and it's the damnedest thing - he's actually pretty good at driving (I'd say better than his old man, but that's damning with faint praise...)

My. Son. Is. Driving.

In less than six months, my daughter will start high school. HIGH SCHOOL. Both kids will be in high school, actually; my son will be more than halfway through his high school career then. I keep seeing the man in the mirror get older and older, more gray in the beard, more aches and pains when I get out of bed.

But, dammit, I'm alive.

I started this blog almost 10 years ago (I know, it scared me, too). My son had just turned 6. My daughter wasn't even 4. I lived in the People's Republik of Massachusetts and didn't own a single AR-15 (now, how *that* has changed!). It feels like an eye-blink.

Got married.


Built house.


Brought my son home from the hospital.

Brought my daughter home from the hospital.


Started a new career in a different state.


And now my son has his learner's permit. Another blink and it'll be my daughter. Then they're off to college, then... quiet. :)

It's funny, with kids. When your kids are young, you see parents with older children and think to yourself, "it'll be easier when they're older." It doesn't matter what age, or what "older" is - for example, when kids are babies, and they get sick, they can't tell you what's wrong. They can't take "regular" medicine, either -- it's a crap shoot without going to the doctor, so you go to the doctor a lot. You look at the parents of pre-schoolers and think, wow, when those kids get sick, at least they can tell their parents "my stomach hurts" or "my throat is sore."

Then your kids get older, and start getting some independence, and you find yourself looking at families with little kids and getting nostalgic. You look back when they were little, and you remember the magic, and the wonder, and how they could be persuaded to do just about anything for the promise of a Happy Meal from McDonald's. Christmas through the eyes of a young child is about the most magical thing there is.

And then you blink, and the spell is broken. 

Oh, don't get me wrong. The current phase my kids are in is *awesome*, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. They're independent, which is a level of awesome all by itself. When school is canceled because of snow, we give them a list of chores (they ignore it, of course, but at least when they start fighting we remind them they have things to do and they magically stop fighting...). There's no more anxious panic when we flip the calendar and see that the next Monday is a teacher in-service day and school is canceled, because we no longer have to frantically scramble to find child care.

It doesn't get better, because that implies it was less-than-perfect before. It changes, of course, but every step along the way has been eye-opening and awe-inspiring. My son has gone from a wirey little bundle of squawky joy to a young man who looks down on his dad (I mean this literally; he's got a good inch on me now). My daughter, the raven-haired baby who was two weeks late for her own birth, is now a young woman with dyed hair and an independent streak a mile wide. It's amazing watching your kids become their own people.

And, now, they're starting to drive. Excuse me while I look for my cane...

That is all.


Old NFO said...

Ah shaddap... I've got grandkids older than your kids... LOL Don't remind me about the age thing! And I hope you got a pay raise to pay for the increase in the insurance!!!

libertyman said...

Is this the little girl I carried,
Is this the little boy at play?

I don't remember growing older,
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty,
When did he grow to be so tall?

Wasn't it yesterday when they were small?

Sunrise, sunset (x2),
Swiftly flow the days.

Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as we gaze.

Heath J said...

Damn man, like they say, tempus fugit.

sailorcurt said...

My youngest turned 30 last Friday. I bought him a card that said "everyone gets to enjoy being young once" and inside the card: "your turn is over".

It seems to go faster and faster as the years accumulate. I think it's because as you age, each year is a smaller percentage of your life total so it seems like a shorter time.

I remember when my dad used to talk about "20 years ago" and it seemed like ancient 20 years ago is recent memory for me.

Enjoy every minute you have with them while you can because before you know it, you'll be raking the lawn alone and thinking "darn I wish those kids were still here to help with this".

Mark Matis said...

He won't be raking no steenkin' lawn, sailorcurt. He'll instead pay some illegal alien invader to do it with the money he no longer has to spend on collidge for dem kids.

Anonymous said...

10 more years and Old Granddad and Old Grandma will jump threw the hoops to please the grandchildren.

Mark Matis said...

Ah, but surely you understand, harp1034, that grandchildren are the grandparents' opportunity to pay back their kids for all they did while growing up. Toy drums for Christmas. Sugar 'em up good before they go back home. I suspect you can easily think of one or two other methods as well...