Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Don't blink...

...or the next thing you know, they'll be asking for the car keys.

I read a lot of blogs written by young women who are raising middle-schoolers, kindergartners, toddlers, and babies.  Sometimes when I write posts about how fast it all goes by and how [sniff, sniff] I miss having all my boys living under this roof with me (and needing me the way they used to), now that they're grown up and all in their 20's...

Oh my gosh, hold the [cell] phone!  I just remembered: my oldest son just turned 30 a little over a week ago!!  Yes, that just happened.  I am not making that up.  Hard to believe.

Anyway, sometimes when I my write tear-jerky, poignant posts--like this one, for instance--about how very, very fast your kids will go and grow up on you (the audacity!), and how hard that is to deal with at times, young moms comment that they can't imagine the day when their kids will be old enough to date or to drive.  I was once like you, young moms.  There was a time when I could not imagine that such an inconceivable thing would ever happen.  My little boys were never going to grow up; no, they were not.

But it's funny how God does seem to prepare you for all the stages you'll go through with your kids.  Because when the day did come, in late August of 2000, that our oldest son was able to chauffeur three of his brothers to school (dropping the two younger ones, who were in junior high at the time, off at their Catholic grade school on the way to the Catholic high school where he and the next oldest brother were students), I didn't cry.  Instead, I ran into the house and broke out my camera, and I made them let me take a few pictures of them sitting in the parked car in the garage right before they took off--as excited about this milestone, practically, as I was when my oldest son took his first wobbly steps back in 1984.

First they learn to walk; then before you know it, they're driving themselves to school!

I was a little giddy as I snapped away, and as you can see, the ridiculousness of turning this simple carpool drive across town into a paparazzi-worthy event made the two older boys in front start to laugh--I mean, laugh really hard.  The two in the back seat just grinned patiently and indulgently.  I'm sure all four were thinking, "Mom is so ridiculous!  Why does she have to take pictures of everything?"  But I can tell you that I'm really happy I have these pictures now.
"Oh, my gosh...really, Mom?  Really?!"
"Stop laughing at me and buckle up!"

"How cute are you twinsies in your SMA garb, with your little matching white shirts and gray pants?"
"Can we just get a move-on?  This is stupid."

Someday, young mothers, when your babies are driving off on their own (and you are at once terrified of what could happen to them out there on the mean streets and relieved that you no longer have to provide a full-time taxi service for your family), you'll know exactly how this mother-turned-grandmother felt the day she took these photos.

It was sort of sad seeing our oldest son drive away with his brothers that day, and feeling all that control I thought I had--that ability to keep them safe, as long as either their father or I was sitting in the driver's seat--slip through my fingers; but it was wonderful, too (kind of like when we celebrated that 30th birthday recently). And it's all good--every single bittersweet phase they go through.  Even when it's not.  Just don't blink, or you might miss some of the good stuff.

(As a postscript to this story: my baby was starting second grade that year, and his school day began later than the others'...so my taxi service was still in demand for a while longer.  But boy, did having another licensed driver in the house lighten the load!)


  1. So very sweet and well written! Thank you for making me see, if only for the moment, really how fast it does go by!!

    1. It does--I never thought I'd have a 30-year-old son!

  2. I'm glad you snapped these too! Check out those sideburns!!!

    1. Ha ha--I know!! And that was the year (junior year) that he also had a short-lived hair gel phase!

    2. And I also think S looks a lot like you in that side-profile pic.

    3. But his nose is so much nicer than mine!