Boys To Men

I didn't see it coming.

Twenty-two and a half years ago, I gave birth to my 6 lb 11 oz baby boy on New Year's Day, via C-section, because he was completely upside down and sideways with his tiny feet up beside his even tinier ears. They handed me this little bundle nicknamed 'Little Man' and I didn't see it coming.

 
From day one, this Little Man deeply and permanently wove his way into my life and my heart. The many nights spent playing, because he preferred sleeping during the day. The countless hours swinging him on a rope over a giant pit of foam at Mommy & Me tumbling classes, or sitting in a chair every Saturday at Tae Kwon Do watching him diligently work, and then cheering through tears when 7 years later, he turned and grinned at me with the Black Belt wrapped around his waist. I still didn't see it coming.

This charming young man, whose quick wit and sense of humor will either win you over...or piss you off. It seemed to have the adverse effect on his elementary school art teacher, his high school music teacher, and the National Honor Society at large. Wow. Really didn't see that coming.

 
But I'm enamored with him. This boy who always kept me guessing.
 
One minute he was making (terrifying) candid videos of our family;
the next, he was talking complicated Engineering lingo with his dad.
 
One minute he was juggling flaming torches and blowing fire across the top of his car in the driveway;
the next, he was preparing and cooking our Thanksgiving turkey.
 
One minute he was complaining about what I'm making for dinner;
the next, he was crawling into bed beside me to sleep while I did my bible study.
 
One minute he was chasing me with my home electrodes threatening to put them on my chest to "see what happens";
the next, he was driving to pick me up when I was running on our back country roads alone, because he got worried about me.
 
One minute he was sitting on the tiny chair surrounded by pictures of Mickey Mouse trying to convince me that a 19 year old shouldn't still be going to the Pediatrician;
the next, he was rummaging through the lollipop basket at the check-out counter complaining that I didn't intervene during " that violent throat swab."
 
One minute he was instructing me not to say anything while he negotiated the purchase of his new car at the dealership;
the next, he was tossing me the keys so I could drive it to the nearest empty parking lot and teach him how to drive a stick shift.
 
One minute our softball coach was threatening to separate us in the outfield, because we wouldn’t stop bickering;
the next, he was threatening to separate us if we didn’t stop laughing. Nothing bonds us together like seeing a batter get nailed with a pitch. Oh, snap! He didn't see that coming! 
 
One minute I was driving him home from church youth group;
the next, he was saying, "There's this girl. Her name is Barbara…"
 
Then I started to see it coming.  
 
Three and a half years ago, my son moved out of our house and got married. While it's the natural course of life that God intended, and I'm eternally grateful for the 20 years I had him home with me, it was heartbreaking nonetheless. Not only for me, but for our youngest daughter, who couldn't imagine life without her big brother in the bedroom right beside hers. 
 
One minute he was teasing her in the kitchen;
the next, they were crying together as he cradled her on the top bunk in her room, and then used a black sharpie to draw a promise to each other above her door. 
 
She just didn't see it coming.
 
One minute, I was silently sobbing alone in my bedroom;
the next, I was being hugged by my future daughter-in-law, as she whispered in my ear, "If it matters, I've never seen a son love his mom so much." 
 
Oh, my sweet Barbara. It mattered.

Fast forward to now.

We celebrated Father’s Day this past weekend. My husband’s 23rd, my son’s 3rd, and my son-in-law’s 2nd year of wearing the precious titles of “Dad, Papa, and Daddy.”  

If I could pass on just one piece of advice to parents everywhere, it would be this:

Enjoy each minute of the adventures you have with your family at every stage, and keep your eyes open…because some of the best moments in life, you might never see coming.