Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Hand Held

When my son was graduating from Northwestern many years ago, I wrote this piece. Now my granddaughter is 10 and beginning to become a young woman. I am once more reminded of the passage of time.

Time holds a mystical power of disappearing before our very eyes. Only 16 years ago I was taking my small, blonde-haired, blue-eyed son's hand as we crossed the street embarking on his advancement to "real" school. Having been a single mother, one who never had a brother, raising a male child was a journey into the unknown. I wasn't sure how the men I knew had gotten to adulthood and some had still to arrive.

However, we mothers do what must be done. I learned a great deal over my son's younger about a boy becoming a man. I learned that little boys don't change physically as slowly as girls. Their feet grow at an uncontrolable rate. Then the voice gets lower. You call a boy to dinner and a strange voice answers. After checking to see that no stranger has intruded, you conclude that the wobbling voice has once more taken a turn. This all takes place in about 3-4 months, even though it seems like overnight.

Then one day you realize that you are no longer looking down but up to talk to him. And, from this point of view, you discover he has a fuzzy chin and the beginning of a fuzzy chest he hides behind a buttoned shirt. He also begins to smell pretty good when he goes off to school and picks out his own clothes.

All too quickly he graduates from high school. He discovers that his sister is his friend and that he actually loves her. He discovers he can go out into the world alone and survive. No longer does he need someone to give him advice; now he asks. Sixteen years later, I will get off the plane to take his hand as we cross the street, this time embarking on his journey into life.

Time holds the mystical power of disappearing before our eyes. But the memories it leaves behind are priceless.



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