Kids grow up so quickly these days, one minute you are holding their hand at the bus stop for the first day of kindergarten and the next, it seems, you are handing over the keys to your car. They are connected to you, and they will always need you but it changes as they get older. It’s a transition, for everyone. I never thought that it was possible but you do get used to your children/young adults separating from you. You have no choice; it happens quite naturally; although, believe me, I still sing “Sunrise, Sunset” at every opportunity.
The quick-dash of our 17-year-old son flying out the door so he can play whiffleball with his best friends, a game they have played for many years. They built and designed the playing field with lighting that could attract a Madison Square Garden concert, with bases that the Yankees would be proud to play in. The initiative to do it on their own, drive to Home Depot a number of times, to thoughtfully design and build it; that made it special; that made it their own and they will always have that, in later years, they will have their memories.
They talk these days are about colleges, SAT’s and AP tests and how school is “technically over” with the exception of finals. The summer brings a much-needed refuge from exams and adult decisions and the dreaded common essay. These group of friends will be entering their Senior year of High School in the fall and things will proceed full speed ahead from then on, and yes, it will be different. The posse will be going in all different directions for college but I have no doubt that they will always be friends.
Topics around our house include talk of the Volunteer Ambulance Corporation and how our son felt the rush of adrenaline when he was able to do compressions on a sick adult man. The fact that his EMT complimented him on his technique was, to him, the highest compliment ever and he was ecstatic. “If I ever had any doubts about Medical School, I don’t now, wow, what an adrenaline rush!!!.”
That young, empathic, compassionate boy that he was is now grown and channeling his inner gifts to want to help others. He has his goals set on being an ER doctor or a surgeon; I tell him he has plenty of time to decide. He may not be the best athlete on the whiffleball team, he may even be one of the worst players, I don’t really know but it doesn’t matter to me.
He calls, after his game, to ask if I want anything from the ice cream store. He walks in, fifteen minutes later, dusty and tired and grinning, bearing a scoop of vanilla cake batter ice cream for me, his mom, with rainbow sprinkles. In my eyes, he is, one true champion.