Once he was 4 years old. He had these big blue eyes that everyone noticed. He was smart, sensitive, inquisitive, funny, and didn’t stop asking questions. Question after question about everything under the sun.
My first born has always been interested in the world around him. He has this passion for learning and understanding.
Our first philosophical debate came quite early- when he was 4 years old. We were driving in the car on the highway and we passed a truck. My son, like most young children, loved talking about trucks. He turned to me, and nonchalantly said, “Ladies don’t drive trucks.”
Hmmm. Kind of random comment but that is what tends to happen with a 4-year-old. At the same time, I took his comment seriously. I had gone to a women’s college for 2 years and thought of myself a bit of a feminist. As a mother of two boys, I had actually put thought into how I wanted to raise them to think of women as equals, capable of doing anything they wanted.
Sam had caught me off guard and I wasn’t prepared to have this discussion so early. I gathered my thoughts and emotions and responded, “Sam, ladies can drive trucks. You don’t see them driving them as often as men but yes they can drive trucks just like men.”
He responded, “ No ladies can’t drive trucks.”
Wow, this was harder than I thought and so I gathered my thoughts again and made another plea this time to Sam explaining why ladies can and do drive trucks. “Even I could drive one if I wanted.”
Again he said, “No. Ladies can’t drive trucks.” This went back and forth and each time I thought of a better answer but Sam wouldn’t budge.
Then when I was at my wit’s end, a little ladybug flew into the car and landed on Sam’s hand. He exclaimed, “ Oh, look! It’s a lady.”
I replied, “Sam that is called a ladybug, not a lady.”
Sam replied, “See Mom, this is a lady. Ladies can’t drive trucks.” (He didn’t seem to notice there was a difference between the word “lady” and the word “ladybug”. )
In the end, Sam was right – Ladybugs don’t drive trucks. Sam 1, Mom 0
My son has challenged me in many ways and has encouraged me to learn with him through the years. I am still learning.
In a few days, that same big blue eyed little boy will graduate college. My head is spinning. How did that happen?
I swear it was just a minute ago we were talking about college choices, applications and SAT’s.
I gather my thoughts as I listen to Stevie Nicks as she sings.
Can I sail through the changing ocean tide?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older, too
Transitions are hard for me. I am still adjusting to my new life and in what seems like a blink of an eye, the reality has truly set in. My little boy is no longer my little boy. He belongs to the world now. He is his own person who will make his own choices and decisions. Though I can’t wait to see how he conquers it all, the feelings are bittersweet. This is what I prepared him for. This was the end goal but selfishly I am not quite ready. It went too fast. He is getting older which means so am I. This is my struggle.
And for my son, his own struggle is thinking about leaving his youth behind and tackling the challenges of life that lie ahead.
It is hard to get older sometimes. I need to sometimes remind myself of how fortunate I am to be in this spot, as emotional as it might be. He was only 3 years old when I was diagnosed with cancer a second time and I didn’t believe I would see this day. I have watched my son become an adult and I am blessed with the gift of time and the chance to see my boy go out into the world as a man. There will still be the phone calls asking for advice and visits home but the relationship will change. My hope is it will strengthen and get better and better as we grow older together.
Graduation is not an end but a new beginning. For all of us.
And so the adventure begins…
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