A milestone of sorts this week. Elder Son turned 18 a few days ago and I'm left wondering how and when all that happened. He's suddenly ridiculously tall, wears sneakers big enough to chock the wheels on an airliner and occasionally shaves the patchy fuzz on his lip. It looks like the real deal no matter how much I try to deny it, his days of little-boy stuff are pretty well over.
I guess it's a common thing among parents as their offspring get older. You get used to thinking of them as...well, children. They're small, high-maintenance packages that you can't let out of your sight for a while then with startling abruptness, you've got a near-grownup in residence across the hall. A living, breathing semi-adult that you occasionally have to ask for technical advice on Skype or your iPod but who still needs your cash card to go to the movies. The 6'2" adolescent tower sprawled out in front of a flat-screen with a computer on his lap and a cell phone in his hand can now vote, drive all night (with my gas of course), enlist in the military, buy his own 'M' rated video games and work full time (eventually) but in some ways, I still see him as my kid. A much larger package to be sure but kid nevertheless. Some things don't leave behind too easily. I should know.
It's an odd combination of child and adult that just breezed by me at the computer, tormented the cat in passing and wiped out the 'fridge again. He's dating a sweet girl who's already in college and acting above his age about it but at the same time, he's still hooked on X-Box and continuously has to be reminded to let the dogs out. His room stays in much better shape these days (now that there's a girl in the picture) but smelly t-shirts are an ongoing issue and the Malibu may blow up before he remembers to check the oil. God help him if he has to change a tire. The big lug stuck to his guns and got in at a community college even after the disappointment of not being accepted into the same school as his girlfriend but gives me grief about loading the dishwasher. All things in their own time I guess. He still surprises me at times with conversation of a caliber that I don't get from many of my of-age acquaintances so I know he's a thinking creature, reluctant maybe but thinking nonetheless. That in itself is a victory for us; to bring up a young man who can and will use his head for more than a place to hold sunglasses. The ability to consider and question is a good trait to have and it looks like he found it.
I told Older-Son and his brother once upon a time that the only thing I wanted of them was to grow up not just men, but good men. Good men before and above all else. I think the both of them are headed in the right direction.
They're the best guys I know (parents are allowed to say that), even when the dishes aren't done and all the lights are on in the house. But no matter how many birthdays and milestones pass, they'll always be kids to me...our kids, my sons. The best part of us.
Now get off your butt and go pick up your socks...