So, my son has his learner's permit. He drove for the first time today. My little boy, the dark-haired baby we brought home from the hospital all those years ago (it feels like a couple months...) is now a permitted driver. I took him out when we got home from the registry (don't get me started on the three-hour ordeal *that* was...) for a quick spin around the block, and it's the damnedest thing - he's actually pretty good at driving (I'd say better than his old man, but that's damning with faint praise...)
My. Son. Is. Driving.
In less than six months, my daughter will start high school. HIGH SCHOOL. Both kids will be in high school, actually; my son will be more than halfway through his high school career then. I keep seeing the man in the mirror get older and older, more gray in the beard, more aches and pains when I get out of bed.
But, dammit, I'm alive.
I started this blog almost 10 years ago (I know, it scared me, too). My son had just turned 6. My daughter wasn't even 4. I lived in the People's Republik of Massachusetts and didn't own a single AR-15 (now, how *that* has changed!). It feels like an eye-blink.
Brought my son home from the hospital.
Brought my daughter home from the hospital.
Started a new career in a different state.
And now my son has his learner's permit. Another blink and it'll be my daughter. Then they're off to college, then... quiet. :)
It's funny, with kids. When your kids are young, you see parents with older children and think to yourself, "it'll be easier when they're older." It doesn't matter what age, or what "older" is - for example, when kids are babies, and they get sick, they can't tell you what's wrong. They can't take "regular" medicine, either -- it's a crap shoot without going to the doctor, so you go to the doctor a lot. You look at the parents of pre-schoolers and think, wow, when those kids get sick, at least they can tell their parents "my stomach hurts" or "my throat is sore."
Then your kids get older, and start getting some independence, and you find yourself looking at families with little kids and getting nostalgic. You look back when they were little, and you remember the magic, and the wonder, and how they could be persuaded to do just about anything for the promise of a Happy Meal from McDonald's. Christmas through the eyes of a young child is about the most magical thing there is.
And then you blink, and the spell is broken.
Oh, don't get me wrong. The current phase my kids are in is *awesome*, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. They're independent, which is a level of awesome all by itself. When school is canceled because of snow, we give them a list of chores (they ignore it, of course, but at least when they start fighting we remind them they have things to do and they magically stop fighting...). There's no more anxious panic when we flip the calendar and see that the next Monday is a teacher in-service day and school is canceled, because we no longer have to frantically scramble to find child care.
It doesn't get better, because that implies it was less-than-perfect before. It changes, of course, but every step along the way has been eye-opening and awe-inspiring. My son has gone from a wirey little bundle of squawky joy to a young man who looks down on his dad (I mean this literally; he's got a good inch on me now). My daughter, the raven-haired baby who was two weeks late for her own birth, is now a young woman with dyed hair and an independent streak a mile wide. It's amazing watching your kids become their own people.
And, now, they're starting to drive. Excuse me while I look for my cane...
That is all.