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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

And Then One Day...

... they're all growed up.

Such curious coin that fills a parent's pocket, no? Such infinite variety of conflicting faces, of opposites, of paradox, of pro and con? Sat here today, brooding; idly flipping and tossing a shiny new shilling - a King's Shilling - with a head of puff-chested Pride, and a bitter tail of Dread and Trepidation.

Week out of high school and he's joined the Marines.

We knew it was coming, kinda sorta, which is to say: he told us last week that he wanted to. And so we went to talk to the recruiters, to learn, to talk things over, to give him something solid to think about. More for our peace of mind than his, of course. His mind was made up; he signed on the dotted, and we our consent.

Kids, huh? Past a certain age they never allow you to show your true affection for them: we find ourselves instead in a perpetuating war of attrition, spiraling into desperation as the ever-present clock counts down. Soon they'll be gone, you're telling yourself, but they're still idiots! You're always on their case; you're forever telling them to Get Serious! Grow Up! Get a Job! Move Out! And then, as though a final insult, one day they do.

This one, he was always the tallest, the biggest of the five. Was once the eldest too, but when our two families came together his place was usurped by a pint-sized Pan who's never going to grow up, it seems? Head full of wicked smarts; tail of a sloth. Headstrong, aloof, lazy-arsed lummox. Never figured him for this, but then again - another flip - Strength, Courage, Determination were always underneath.

He has a couple of months of boyhood left, before he ships out for Basic. A couple of months in which to get himself in some kind of shape before he leaves; and a couple of months at home freed at last from parental complaint and bitchery. We're even going to pay him not to take that crummy summer job; the one that up till now had marked his future. That's a couple of months for us to come to terms too. You're never really done growing up, are you? There's always something else to age you more.

The proud. The few.

Not a bad thing to be at all, kiddo.


Blogger Cowtown Pattie said...

I can imagine how hard it was to let him make this decision.

You're right about the strangeness of parenting; one minute you can't wait till they are out of the house, and when they actually manage to do it, we worry they aren't really ready...

Been there, done that, own several faded T-shirts...

7:14 PM  
Blogger DarkoV said...

Just utter shock.
We all want them to grow up and get out of our what's-left-there-hair.
This is Growing Up-The Post-Graduate level.
What happened to the act in between?
You and your wife seem to be handling this as well as 2 shock victims can; your summer job subsidy comes full steam from the heart.

Best wishes.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Whisky Prajer said...

Your progeny didn't fall that far from the tree, which is probably the biggest shock of all (given how that cussed "adolescent" stage nearly convinces a parent otherwise).

I'm taking furious notes. All the best to your son, and to the remaining unit at home.

6:02 AM  
Blogger F.C. Bearded said...

Thanks for your kind words. We are of course immensely proud of the path he has chosen, and will help him any way we can.

Not that there's much more that we can do for him, which is half our problem: you want them to move out, move on, build their own lives on the one hand, but not to remove themselves utterly from your sphere of assistance from the very get-go!

Still: it does allow us to indulge him for a couple of months; to snip the leash or the apron strings or whatever you want to call them. He belongs to others, now, so we are free to behave as though we were grandparents.

'Course, all bets would be off if the bugger made us actual grandparents...

9:14 AM  

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