Monday, October 2, 2017

Hang on, Mama!

Step on the brakes!  Your baby has made it all the way to his last year of school.  This is the year you have been working toward, the culmination of all those years of trudging through his childhood, buying that mountain of school supplies every August just to find out that by October he was all out, buying school clothes sometimes several times a year because he just Would. Not. Stop. Growing.  Not to mention those endless nights of homework, after school practice, ball games, and the myriad other activities that keep parents on the road seven nights a week.  What happened to not scheduling activities on church nights?

Image result for graduation

Here you are, in the last year of her school life, navigating cap and gown orders, graduation invitations, and senior pictures.  She likely has her driver’s license so you don’t have to be the driver any more.  Your angst at getting in the car again for another trip to school has been replaced by the worry that she will be in an accident in her own car or yours.  You don’t know all her friends any more, much less their parents.  You have to trust her to make her own decisions, because that, after all, is what you raised her to do.  She doesn’t need you as much now, or possibly she needs you more, if only in the background as she tries her wings.

Brake and brake often.  Savor these last few months of their childhood.  After graduation they may leave your nest for good, like my oldest child did.  As I happily celebrated his graduation and helped him prepare to move to an apartment and go to college 100 miles away, I forgot to brake.  I forgot to hold on.  It’s been fifteen years and he has never come back, except for visits that are way too short.

My son and his friends gathered around our dining table.  He's in the white shorts and blue shirt. 
I was fortunate enough to teach in the same high school he attended, and one of my fondest memories is watching him coming down the hall with his friends to greet me with their own unique salutation.  They were full of youth and energy and they made me laugh.  How forlorn the halls were the next year without Matt and his friends.

I recall the many nights when he and his friends would crowd around our dining room table talking and laughing.  I never thought I would have enough food for them all, but they managed to entertain themselves and get their fill of snacks. 

Hubby and daughter Natalie on her graduation trip to Pensacola Beach
These times, though often making for worrisome late nights, were short-lived.  Far too soon he was gone, finished college, married, and now has a child of his own.  No regrets, only the knowledge that I didn’t realize how much more I should have savored each moment.  My daughter graduated a few years later, a year early in fact, and it still felt like a whirlwind.  Natalie and her friends were fun as well, but soon they scattered as life has them do, leaving me with an empty nest but a heart full of wonderful memories. 

So hang on, mamas and daddies of high school seniors.  It’s a fast and furious year, and it takes no prisoners.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Spitting on the Chrysler

“Don’t spit on our new car!” 

My brother Allen and I sat on the hood of our brand new car (1953 Chrysler New Yorker—new to us) in the driveway of the house by the football field in Van.  Our neighbor friends Lisa and Tracy had come over to see our new car, and apparently had threatened to spit on it, or at least we believed they might.  We told them in no uncertain terms what we thought about it.  It was Daddy’s new car and they better not spit on it!

Image result for 1953 Chrysler New Yorker
Similar to our new car.
I don’t recall if they actually did it or not.  Lisa was my age and Tracy was younger than Allen, but we visited their home next door a few times.  Their new house, which we never threatened to spit on, had a dining room with a sliding glass door that we thought was just the coolest.  It was like having a floor-to-ceiling window that you could step through.  Lisa also had a kids’ table and chairs and a Chatty Cathy doll which talked when you pulled the string.  

We didn’t own children’s furniture or a talking doll.  We didn't have a sliding glass door.  The only thing I remember about the inside of our house was the hardwood floors and the bedroom that Allen and I shared.  We did have a toy box with a heavy lid that I think was there when we moved in.  I wonder if we ever mashed our fingers with that thing.  Probably so.

Image result for Chatty Cathy doll

The neighbor kids also had a swing set with a slide that we thought was pretty neat.  But Mama wouldn’t let us play over there very much.  Either she was afraid we would wear out our welcome or we might get hurt.  Probably a little of both.

It wasn’t long before we moved again, this time to the other side of town to a place we call the James house.  New house, new street, new neighbors.  But I would see my friend Lisa again very soon.

Left to right:  me, baby sister Sharon, Daddy, brother Allen

Stay tuned. . .I get to start my school journey!