photo by Sheri Dixon

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Just a Matter of Time

The very last baby I'll ever have is taller than I am by almost a head.

I've trained myself to startle only on the inside when he walks tall into a room, when his voice carries deeply through the house, when I'm hanging blue jeans on the line that are longer than mine and every inch as long as his over six foot tall dad's.

And I know it's just a matter of time.

Everything changes. Everyone leaves.

That's neither good nor bad; it's the way of life. And growth. And death. And birth.

I have the luxury of being able to spend time alone every week with those I love, those I consider Family.

The days with my son start with lunch out where the Boy who's less than 6 months beyond "Kid's Menu" age devours enough for a family of dessert. And there's not a spare ounce of flesh on him. We had a helluva time finding blue jeans that were long enough and slim-waisted enough.

Then we go to his guitar lesson followed by his swim lesson- one 20 miles east of our house and one 20 miles west of our house which makes for a pretty hefty commute.

I love the commute.

The Boy talks constantly about politics, philosophy, science, science and more science. If a football were to come crashing through our windshield, he'd be able to tell how fast it had been going according to the hole and shatter pattern and possibly the height and weight of the person who had thrown it from the angle it hit, but he'd be hard pressed to figure out what the projectile itself was.

He's always been that way. Not a book worm or a nerd- he attained 2nd degree 4th level black belt in Tae Kwon Do before switching to swimming like a dolphin at the community pool, and you can find him outside on his bike, barefooted, shirtless and looking to blow shit up at any given hour of the day or night but spectator sports are not his thing.

He took the TV out of his room in order to have more room on his desk for his computer. He's not a game player- he's an information junkie.

We recently got him his own cell phone since he's now 'running with his herd' a fair amount of the time instead of always being with one of us and that's as it should be.

He's growing up.

And growing away.

Not (yet) a wrenching, gut-lacerating generational severing, this is subtle and silent and gentle but firmly permanent.

On Tuesday the car was filled with silence.

I glanced over at the Boy.

He was staring down at his phone in consternation.

He'd been stuck that way through much of lunch and on the way to guitar.

I know he emails and texts his herd members, and I knew one of the apps on the phone was giving him fits, so I just let it go.

For about the 30 seconds I'm capable of.

"Son? What's wrong?"


"Hey- you OK?"

*More Silence*

"Are you pissed off, depressed about something or distracted?"


(Interesting immediate answer from someone who's ... distracted).

And distracted he remained (with a few outbursts of pretty impressive profanity which I figured were preferable to him hurling the phone out the window even if he could tell me the velocity of the device as it hit the pavement) all the way to swimming.

Which left me time to think.

My family knows the dangers of that, and yet they continue to allow it. They obviously have very poor survival instincts.

So I thought about the Boy as an infant, like mothers are wont to do. And I thought of him as a toddler, and a little boy and a pre-teen and now as a teenager- how he is so funny and smart and kind just like his dad, how you know you'll have to make an effort to keep a straight face when he starts an explanation of something he did or didn't do with a serious nod of his head and an even more serious, "Look..." and it won't matter how outlandish the words are that follow, there's no being angry at this kid because he almost never does or avoids something out of spite, or anger, or sloth and he's never considered lying to save his face or his ass or any other body part.

As we drove under an overpass on the way home the car was still quiet, except for me when I said, "Hey! Did you see that?"

His gaze came up from his phone imperceptibly. "What?"

"The birds! those barn swallows or cliff swifts or whatever they are! Hundreds of 'em!" His mom gets pretty excited about stuff like that.

No. He hadn't seen 'em.

So I turned the car around and we circled back. His eyes rolled just a wee bit- the boys are used to unscheduled stops to look at weird shit.

I pulled to a stop almost right under the overpass and there they were. Hundreds of 'em.

We watched the birds launch out of their mud nests that were glued impossibly onto the vertical surfaces of the bridge. As soon as they were clear of the nests they were gone and as soon as they returned to the nest they disappeared inside. That fast. That often. Feeding babies is serious work.

"How are the nests staying up there?" asked Mr. Science.

"Bird spit" answered Mom the All-knowing.

After a few more moments of bird-watching, I put the car into gear, figuring the Boy would be wanting to get back to his own thing- his phone and his apps and his thoughts that do not include being a boy anymore since he's not. He's a young man.


*Sound of car being shifted back into park*

"Lets watch them for a little while longer, OK Mom?"

"Of course. I just figured you had better things to do than watch a bunch of birds flying in and out of bird spit and mud nests under the overpass".


And my mother's heart sang.

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