I’ve come to realize I’m not the most observant person, otherwise I likely would have seen this a while ago. Over the past few weeks I’ve been noticing certain things “missing” at home but I’ve never noticed anyone coming to take them.
No, the computer is still there, all the electronics, what little valuable jewelry I have is still tucked safely away in an open box on top of my dresser. My kitschy knickknacks are still on their shelves, and the dogs are always relatively undisturbed. There’s been no evidence of anyone breaking in, either through the door or one of windows.
And yet some things are just … missing.
At some point, when I obviously wasn’t looking, someone took my children and replaced them with young adults. Their childish giggles have turned to laughter – often at my expense, particularly when they’re laughing together. Their hands reaching out to take mine have been replaced by hands waving as they drive off on their own. And though they still sometimes turn to me for advice, they’re also prepared to give some.
The funny thing is I started noticing these missing things when I wasn’t even home. First when my 20-year-old son – the one I’ve been calling “Man/Boy” but should probably think of something else, or just call him “Justin” – asked me to mail his voter registration card, and then again a few weeks later when he talked to me about having gone and voted early. We were talking outside and then he went to his apartment and I opened the door to mine and noticed it then. Something was gone.
Earlier this week I noticed it, too, when I was in Ames with Teen Girl – my high school senior daughter who is seriously thinking about Iowa State. Here we were, two hours from home and suddenly in the middle of this eight-hour campus visit I got the feeling something was missing. Sure enough, when we got home it wasn’t there.
This morning it really hit home – I took Teen Girl to go take her ACTs and met Man/Boy in the parking lot at 6:30 a.m. He had a mandatory seminar he had to go to for work, and he was actually leaving early. This is the same person who struggled to get out of bed at 6:30 to get to school just a few years ago.
I still catch myself every now and then wanting to give some piece of over-obvious parental advice, or caution them against Bad People or making Wrong Decisions. I forget sometimes that they’re 17 and 20 and instead try to picture them at 10 and 13. Or younger.
It’s great watching my “kids” start to become the adults they are going to be. But sometimes I wish time would slow down, just a little.