Today is SJ’s birthday. My youngest son is now 8-years old. He’s thrilled.
I was talking to a friend of mine recently. He and his wife have triplets. Their children are in 11th grade. Anyway, we were walking along, and I didn’t notice his children. Part of his response was, “Don’t worry. Some day you’ll be able to walk away or go out and not have to worry about your children.”
“I’m not in a rush,” I said.
In fact, I’m going to miss seven.
At seven, SJ was in first grade. At seven, SJ became a Kindleaholic. At seven, SJ told me about the first girl he liked. I can’t go into details because I promised him I wouldn’t.
A couple of days ago SJ and I were having a conversation.
I said, “Soon, you’re going to lose something, and it’s going to be gone forever.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s going to be in your rear view mirror. (had to explained what I meant be rear view mirror). And it’s never ever going to come back. No matter how much you try or how much you may want it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You have no idea what I’m talking about do you?”
“Just Tell Me!!”
“Seven, SJ. Seven is almost gone. You’ll never be seven again. That’s it. Don’t you think that’s kind of sad?”
“No. I want to get a bigger.”
“I don’t know.”
But I know. He’s normal. He’s like every other kid. And in this case, that’s good.
Me, I’m not in a rush. Sometimes, when we are together at the kitchen table, I look at him when he is not looking back. I stare at his face and wonder and know. I see him getting older. I see him graduating elementary school, dancing at his Bar Mitzvah, borrowing the car keys, heading off to college, and walking down the aisle.
This vision brings me warmth. My boy is going to have a good life. He will be happy. He’ll have friends. He’ll have a family. He’ll find success in his life.
This vision brings me sadness. I miss one, two, three, four, five, six, and now seven. As our youngest when he completes something, be it potty training, kindergarten, or his multiplication tables, our family finishes it. We have passed that stage.
The other day we traveled to the Philadelphia suburbs to spend time with my mother and other family members including an elderly aunt who is not doing well. While we were driving, we saw a train. Correction. I saw a train. I pointed it out to Ms. MMK. She shook her head in that, “That’s nice dear sort of way.” I was ready to alert the boys. But I stopped myself. They wouldn’t care. Yet at one point, seeing a train was a spectacle. They would stare at the train as it went by and then crane their heads to see it for as long as possible.
As the train went one way and my family went the other, I got to wondering. What do you READERS still hold on to though your children have outgrown that stage? Do you still look for sales on baby food though your kids don’t eat it? Do you break into the Little Einsteins every time you have to countdown though your kids no longer admit they ever even watched the show? Do you still check out picture books – Goodnight Moon – though your kids are reading on their own?
Yeah, I know, I know, I’m feeling sentimental. This quote from J.D. Salinger’s Cather In the Rye, as said by Holden Caufield sums it up, “Certain things, they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone.”
I don’t want SJ to stay as he is. I love seeing him grow and accomplish. But sometimes and in some ways, I miss my little boys.
P.S. Today would have been my father’s 83rd birthday. He died the day after his 65th birthday.