Monday, December 1, 2008

Is he really sixteen?

I get it.

Sandy, our neighbor in the Kirkwood neighborhood in Greensboro, North Carolina was already there. I'm sure she rolled her eyes oh-so-genteelly as I waxed and waned about my amazing, miraculous, never-to-be-paralled baby boy. Her child was in middle school and she'd been there, done that.

When we moved to Dunwoody, my son's first Sunday School teacher smiled kindly as I warned her about his separation anxiety and need to keep a treasured jeep in his hand at all times and to just send someone to me if he cried. Her child was in high school and she'd been there, done that.

Now he is turning sixteen.

There are babies blooming up and down our street here in Dunwoody. Pinks and blue announcements are bouncing from mailbox to yard, with wood storks and mylar balloons crowing the joyous news. Do I long for that cuddly bit of love? Actually, no. My two loves are right here, in my memory as sweet babies, scraped-knee and bruised-forehead toddlers, and "I can do that myself" first-graders. I can still hug them, kiss their foreheads, even get away with a little "baby boy" and "baby girl" at bedtime. They love the snuggles, thank goodness.

So now I smile kindly as the stroller brigade meanders up and down the street to show off the latest bit of love. I adore the babies and enjoy their pinched up faces. When they start crying, I bite my tongue as their mothers fretfully pick them up and worry.

My baby is turning 16. He's just moments away from leaving home and my ever-present care.

How did that happen?

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