Growing up…

Well, they are getting married. My children’s childhood friends are marching down the aisle these days.

This afternoon we will witness the little boy who lived across the street, marry his high school sweetheart. Justin lived in and out of our house for many years. Justin and my Brian were friends making forts under the back deck, playing street hockey between our houses, and playing football together. Lots of football. Together they played Pop Warner, on the middle school team, and all through high school. They played Madden 2003, 2004, 2005, etc. when they weren’t on the field. They played tag/tackle between the houses. Football was their thing.

Somehow it’s hard to reconcile the sweaty, giggling, tough boys I herded through my house and around town, turning into responsible young men… with wives and families. Last summer a bunch of them came over for a cookout and fire to celebrate our new home. They got a little rowdy and I marched across the yard to provide some correction… No, you cannot take out the throwing axes, there are little children around. They all tower over me now, but they obeyed my instruction, like littler boys, because well, I’m Mrs. B.

It’s surprising how fast, this time, has gone. In some ways, our children have given us a reprieve. They are just beginning to talk about forever. They have been focused on education, and career, on establishing themselves and taking steps toward independence. There will be weddings in our future, but not yet. This allows me to imagine that nothing really has changed. We are still just the five of us… only older. They all live outside our house, but our family remains the same. I can imagine that in the future, we will open up the small circle that is us and invite others in, husbands, wives, and hopefully someday grandchildren. But for now, we still fit in the booth at Chilies.

It’s hard not to be shocked by this turn of events. Children grow up. Who knew? When we were in the midst of the crazy years with them, I thought life would always be the same. Now I know time moves on, very quickly. They no longer tumble out of bed and show up in my kitchen. When the oldest moved her bed to the first apartment, I cried to realize she would never come downstairs in her pajamas again. That isn’t entirely true, she comes home now for weekends and holidays. But it has surely changed and continues to evolve.

So we will stand with neighbors and families we’ve shared life with for decades and celebrate the wedding this afternoon. We will remember the crazy things the boys did growing up, and we will stand in wonder at the men they have become. We will share a meal, dance, and laugh, but I will still miss the littler boys. Years ago a friend told me, as she ran a loving finger over a picture of her eight-year-old son, it isn’t that you don’t love them where they are. You do, you really do. It’s just that you miss the little boy who was eight.

31days This is part of a 31-day writing challenge. Click here, to see the rest of the series.

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