The Way Things Are



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Not at all ready
2005-03-16, 10:54 a.m.

I called Lil Guy last night at his dadís house, and a stranger, a strange man-child with a deep voice answered the phone. ďLil Guy? Is that you?Ē ďYES, MOM.Ē ďWhat happened to your voice, son?Ē ďI HAVE A COLD.Ē

Shew! Thank God. I was really worried for a few seconds that he had completed Stage 3 of Puberty: The Deepening. For inquiring minds, Stage 1 is rancid b.o. and Stage 2 is pre-zitty skin. He has Stage 1 and Stage 2 in abundance. I am not ready for Stage 3, and I donít even want to think about what Stage 4 has in store. And I am quite certain that there are several substages that have occurred that I donít know about, need never know about, and will never know about.

Somehow, I donít think itís up to me and my readiness, though. Itís going to happen whether Iím ready, whether Iím looking and paying attention. Ready or not.

Looking ahead when they are babies, the years stretching ahead seem endless. Heíll be an infant FOREVER. Heíll be a toddler FOREVER. Heíll be a little boy FOREVER. You canít imagine this little child growing up and becoming a real live human person. But right now, it doesnít seem heíll be a prepubescent surly preteen FOREVER. Looking forward, the years are bunching up, coming faster and faster. Itís easier to imagine him growing up now. Looking back, everything happened in the blink of an eye. I run into old friends in town who I havenít seen in 20 years, and it seems unreal that Iíve even been on this earth for 20 years. Twenty years is only half of it, though. Looking forward, it is supposed to feel interminable. It is supposed to feel like Iíll never get there, LG will never get there. Weíll be here, frozen in this place, forever.

But as he gets older, and I get older, his growing up resembles Christmas more and more. It is coming faster each year, and this is magnified the more he reaches these milestones that bring him closer in age and maturity to me. I have rancid b.o. or at least the potential for it. I have pre-zitty skin. Heís as tall as I am, his feet are much bigger than mine, and the gods are playing a cruel practical joke on me by evening out the playing field and bringing him to the same level of all growed up as I am.

There are times when I just want to pick him up and hold up, and carry him around. I canít do that. I canít lift him. If I tried, his toes would still be dragging the ground. I still see the baby, the toddler, the little boy inside him, and itís so hard to let that Lil Guy go and not hold him in my lap, curled in a little ball. There is a part of me that is frozen in 1995, with a toddler who fits in my lap and in my armsÖthe part of me that still sees the tiny little boy inside the stinky man-child.

I really wish I were an eloquent writer, that I could spin this story and train of thought into something that those of you who stumble across this could feel and understand as sharply as I do. I know this is disjointed. If it were a business letter, I could craft this into a terse and professionally-written document, and Iíd be terminating a contract at the end of it, and you would call me and be petulant and unhappy with me, and I would stand my ground and tell you that I have no choice, the contract must be terminated.

All I can do here is try to describe what itís like to wonder where my tiny little boy went, and to catch glimpses of him at times, for part of me to still see him and know heís there, and to feel that the years are falling toward me faster and faster. Time is speeding up, and I measure it with my son.

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