Write In Between

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Boy, A Man, and a Mom

The decision is final. My son has decided where he is going to college. My head acknowledges this, but my heart is undecided. It is uncharted territory for the both of us. He's 18--this child God used to make a mother out of me.

He's slowly been moving out of my sphere of influence. But at least he's been at home. When he wasn't, I believed he was where he said he was. When he goes away to college in a few months, I'll have to trust him to God in much bigger ways than before.

So this is how it is with the firstborn. You delight in their arrival, never grow tired of the ways they grow, and yet, you are still surprised when they do. You fight with them, fight for them, and then fight the tears when you learn the truth: you’ve worked all along to put yourself out of a job, and succeeded. Still, when they move on, so must we. But…

I still see the boy; but only when I see beyond the size-11 sneakers, and look up at the 6-foot-two frame with stubble on his chin.

I see the blond boy I taught how to hit a ball, using an oversized whiffle-bat. The same one I caught hardballs for when he was trying out for a pitcher's slot in Little League. I still see the much-older boy who yearned to play varsity ball but didn't survive the final cut, and walked away with his dignity intact but his heart broken. And I saw the same man, one year later, yearn to try out again, but miss his chance because he broke both thumbs in an earlier skiing accident. He left a lot more than wounded pride on that ski slope.

I see baseball hats as permanent wardrobe accessories from the age of two. And how, really, some things never change. (He does take them off at the dinner table and in church.)

I see bookshelves full of Matt Christopher books about sports of every kind. And how they've given way to ESPN magazine and SportsCenter on cable TV.

I see the boy who collected all things Lego. And I see the man who bequeathed them all to his younger brother, still sitting down now and again to help him build things.

I see the boy who dressed up as a cowboy for Halloween and as John Paul II for a school presentation. And now I see the man, getting fitted for a tuxedo for the prom--including a top hat and tails--not to mention a suit and mortarboard for commencement.

I see the boy whose favorite vehicle as a toddler was a 'guck.' And the man I pray for who drives a red pick-up truck out of our driveway everyday.

I see the boy who fell asleep at night listening to radio broadcasts of the Sox, Celtics and Bruins. And now I see the man who wants to attempt a career in sports journalism.

I see the shy boy who needed braces and permanent bridgework, and the man who smiles more easily now.

I see the boy who collected commemorative State Quarters from my spare change. Now, I see the man who has a job, a checking account, and ATM card!

I see the boy at church in dress clothes, receiving his First Holy Communion. And now I see the man who helps give retreats to underclassmen at his Catholic high school, and who stood up as Godfather for our youngest nephew.

I see his mom. Once upon a time, she gave birth to an 8-lb. boy after 14 hours of hard labor and an emergency c-section. Sniffling and crying through that emotional white-knuckled birth, she waved the one hand that was not pinned down to a monitor or hooked up to an IV, begging to get a glimpse of the face of her baby boy. She looks different today from that younger gal. But, you'll recognize her. She'll be the one sniffling uncontrollably, and waving the wet-hanky-in-hand at the man with the diploma, straining to see his face at graduation.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11. RSV)

© 2006 Patricia W. Gohn

Copyright 2006 Patricia W. Gohn

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  • Alright, so now you've made me cry!!! We too have loved watching Bobby grow into the man he has become and look forward to seeing what the future holds for him. You've also given me pause to think about the similar journey I will take one day as I watch my own sons grow into their manhood. You are a proud Momma and with good reason!! Keep up the good work! Lots of love....and we'll see you soon! Peg

    By Anonymous Peggy Gohn, at 1:41 PM  

  • I read this column on Catholic Mom tonight and I couldn't help but cry. My older boy is only 5, just starting T-ball, and beginning school this year, but I know how quickly these years are going to go.

    Thank you for sharing!

    By Blogger Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, at 8:24 PM  

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