???? Is it okay?!?!?!? Chick’s question generated a lot of possible responses in my head, most of them starting with “YES!”, though a few of them started with “Who are you and what have you done to my son?”
As he has done all summer, he got himself up and left at 6:00 that morning and, after working his 8 hour shift for the Roy City Parks Department, came home around 2:30. And, as he has also done most of the summer, he went to work again when he got home, this time for me and, on this particular day, he steam cleaned all the carpets on the main floor.
Who is this child? Is this the same boy that, less than 6 months ago, went to sleep again after I had awakened him for school, slept until 10:30 a.m. and decided, upon awakening, that most of the school day was over so he might as well stay home?
Near summer’s beginning, Chick volunteered to build a hay barn for me. He aced his college-level civil engineering classes and is confident he can build me a barn. For the past several weeks, after weeding, mowing and/or edging for Roy City 8 hours in the July morning and early afternoon sun, he has come home and in the mid-afternoon sun, has dug 2’ post holes in our cement-like clay soil—18 of them.
Who is this child? Is this the same boy that had difficulty doing two tasks in a row last summer because, somewhere between starting and completing the first task he would get lost in a fantasy world, fighting dragons and slaying bad guys?
A couple weeks ago, I came home from some early errands and, seeing the truck Chick drives to work in the driveway, wondered why he was home on a weekday morning. I found him mowing our lawn. Why wasn’t he at work was my first question and why was he mowing the lawn the second. His answers to my questions surprised me.
He’d gone to work that morning feeling ill. Seeing his greenish look and not wanting the stomach bug that was running through our family to run through his crew, his boss sent him home. Upon arriving home, he went to work. I understood the reason for sending him home but the reason for mowing my lawn when he’d been sent home sick completely eluded me.
“Mom,” he explained, “You told me once that the best thing to do when you don’t feel good is to work your way through it—it takes your mind off how awful you feel plus you get something done—so that is what I did.”
Who is this child? Is this the same boy who hid in his room during chore time, secretly reading his book?
“I am the official, unanimously acknowledged MVP of weeding for the entire parks crew,” Chick mentioned casually one day. Apparently he can outweed any 5 other guys in the crew, both in quality and quantity.
Who is this child? Is this the same boy who could take two hours to do dinner dishes and, when he was “done”, still leave half a dishwasher load of dirty dishes decorating the counter?
“Here Mom,” Chick said as he handed me the phone last Thursday.
“Hello, this is Teresa,” I said automatically, not knowing to whom I was speaking.
The person on the connection’s other end said, “Your son just made an appointment to give blood in the Sunset Stake Center at 5:00 p.m. on July 31st. Would you like to make an appointment for 5:15?”
Who is this child? Is this the same boy that I begged to do something, anything, besides read? …join a chess club, get involved in Scouting, be on the robotics team, volunteer to take one-armed, red-headed, far-sighted, left handers golfing….anything…
“I cannot go!” Chick said vehemently. “I don’t have any clean jeans.”
Who is this child? Is this the same boy who, only a few months ago, sat across from me in the doctor’s office and sincerely, genuinely did not understand my objections to his wearing dirty jeans to school?
Who is this child? The question is the answer. “This” not a child; this, my first baby, is a man.
I am new to this. As Chick is my oldest, I am experiencing this boy-to-man transition for the first time. Never would I have predicted it. Ever will it amaze me. I seriously marvel in the miracle. Give up your boy-card, dude! You have become a man, a real man, a good man, a man whom I can respect, a man whom I treasure.
I tell these tales, not to brag (though I am....just a bit!) but to give hope to any parents out there who have children who exhibit less than stellar (or downright non-existent) work habits, off whom responsibility slides like lotioned fingers on a pickle jar lid, and/or who make choices that would baffle even the Mad Hatter. There is hope. Boys become men. My guess is that girls become women also.
When I ordered glasses at Sam’s Club (yes, I have reached bi-focal age), Kayt asked me about Chick’s mission preparations. I opened my mouth to answer but could only nod. Something squeezed my throat shut, making a verbal response impossible. I suspect it was the same something that threatened to fill my eyes with tears. Her mention of my son sent me from completely stable to hazardly emotional in nanoseconds. I fear that sending Chick on his mission is going to be much, much more difficult than I anticipated.