Thursday, October 14, 2010

Reaping the Rewards

When the Boys were babies, it seemed as if every few days an older parent would look at our herd of chaos and remark wistfully, "Enjoy these years. They go so fast."

I wanted to punch those parents right in their misguided noses.

I am not for a moment saying that I didn't enjoy their childhoods: I still miss the suddenly heavy feeling of a baby who has just dropped off to sleep. I never got tired of watching them when they didn't see me, then seeing their joy when they realized I was there.

I loved my Boys and there were pockets of sheer delight, but there was never ever a moment off. Even when I was asleep I was one whimper away from being not asleep. I could not foresee a time at the end of the tunnel when my days would be more than an endless parade of wiping noses, cleaning up messes, refereeing squabbles, and cooking another meal before the dishes from the previous meal had been washed.

That's why it was absolute joy to have a moment like last night, as we watched Boy#3 lead his marching band sectional rehearsal after a wind ensemble concert. He had been an intense, sometimes brittle child, and we saw a young man who has matured into his passions. He led the rehearsal with confidence and aplomb, teaching as he conducted.

Only a few hours earlier we had been at supper with Three and one of his favorite cousins, a freshman at the same university. Cousin is an honor student who plans to study abroad next year. He's smart and talented and I beamed as I watched the two compare classes and plans. It feels like only moments ago we were putting these babies down for naps during family gatherings and now they're old enough to be good sports when I ask them to pose with Wilbur.

The years go so fast.

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