18 years? That's all I get?

He was born three days before his due date after 10 hours of labor. There was some merconium when my water broke so they told me to stop pushing after his head was delivered so they could siphon out his nose and mouth. I remember sitting up, scared because he wasn’t crying, and being pushed back down with, “It’s okay, he can’t cry yet, his chest is compressed.”

Ivylad was in the Navy, so his sister attended me at my “lying-in.” I’m still in the stirrups, pushing out the placenta, when she kisses me on the forehead and rushes off to see her new nephew. He peed on the birth certificate and smudged his footprint.

He was the first grandchild on both sides, so much pictures and spoiling ensued.

When he was almost three, his sister was born. The first thing he said when we came home from the hospital was, “Daddy, turn it off.” (She was fussing a bit.) Words of portent, I tell you…she’s quite the chatterbox.

He slipped in the bathtub and cut his ear on the faucet. He needed some stitches for that one.

I read to him every night before bed. He loves to read and write stories. He won an online contest for writing the last chapter of a story and got some K’nex toys as a prize.

His school career has been…how shall we say…a bit frustrating. He’s a smart kid, but the problem is he knows it. So he has a tendency toward laziness and schoolwork arrogance, and the report card fairy has bitten a chunk out of his butt on more than one occasion, much to his father’s and my anger and dismay. He came in second in the county spelling bee. He barely passed calculus. He got a 4 on his AP Literature test. His teachers want to wring his neck, because they know he’s capable of so much more consistent work.

He’s been to New Orleans (we saw a can-can show and one of the dancers gave him her garter), San Diego, CA, New London, CT, and Charleston, SC (courtesy of the Navy.) We’ve taken him to Georgia in November, where he played in the snow, to Virginia in August, where he saw where the Confederacy surrendered, and Grandma took him to England for a month last summer, where I think he kissed a girl.

He played t-ball, Little League baseball, and took karate lessons. He played golf and ran track in school.

He is one of the kindest boys I know. Shortly after Ivylad’s sister and her husband had their first child, we decided we should move back to Florida so our kids could grow up around their cousins. It was the best decision we ever made. Ivyboy and Ivygirl adore and are adored by their four younger cousins, and my son has learned a patience and a love of play that I think will suit him well when he has children of his own. One of his nieces wrote in her bon voyage card to him, “Don’t go partying without me.” She’s 9.

He’s progressed from picture ABC books to Goosebumps to Harry Potter to Tom Clancy. He’s very good with origami and magic tricks. His idea of a clean room is not my idea of a clean room. His big thing for a time was measuring his height against everyone in the family, but now that he’s got everyone beat that’s gone by the wayside. He spoke for a few minutes at his grandfather’s funeral, and asked that a solution to one of his magic tricks be cremated with Grandpa. He’s not shy about telling us “I love you.” He kisses us good night. He likes his shirts to be ironed and yes, he knows how to iron. And cook. And do laundry.

My father once told me, “First you give your kids roots, then you give them wings.” Tomorrow we pack up the car and drive him over to Melbourne to get him settled in at the Florida Institue of Technology. He will be living on campus. He wants to design computer games and eventually launch his own computer company. We are staying there for a few days and will be bidding him goodbye and good luck on the next chapter in his life on his 18th birthday.

His father and I did the best we could. I keep asking him if he took care of this or that, and he invariably answers me with a long-suffering “Yes, mom.” I’m trying to untie the apron strings, albeit reluctantly, but I think he’s going to tear loose before I’ve got them unknotted. A few weeks ago I was giving him advice on how to handle a situation, and he said, “Yes, mom, I know. You and Dad did a good job.” I think we made some errors along the way, but he’s a healthy child who knows not to do drugs and smoke and drink and has a tremendous love of family. I told him for God’s sake, marry somebody smart.

For those of you with little kidlets, 18 years is not a long time. Trust me.

Awwwww. That was sweet. Goodluck, Ivyboy!

Great post, and I second the emotion.

My ex is trying to minimise my access to my stepson (sure, not my son by blood, but to me it’s the same), and my friend was saying, “Don’t worry, as he gets older, he’ll be able to visit you of his own accord.” But I tried to explain how that wasn’t good enough. He still holds my hand when we cross the street. He still tells me useless facts about dinosaurs. Maybe in a few years, I’ll be seeing more of him, but he won’t be doing that stuff. It’ll be gone.

Ivylass, why do I read threads about your son? I’m twenty-two and not at all in a place in my life where I should react like this, but reading your perspective of him growing up makes me cry a little. Seriously, I cried when your son graduated. I didn’t go into the recent thread asking for advice to a new college student because I feared the same reaction. I didn’t notice that this was your thread when I clicked on it and now I have teary eyes.

Part of it, I think, is jealousy of your son. He’s just starting what I just finished. I loved undergrad. Now I have to go off and be a proper grownup. A bigger part of my overly-emotional responses to your posts about him is its obvious just how much you love him and that’s really cool. Good job, Ivylass!

Oh, stop it, ivylass. :slight_smile: As they said in Little Woman, he’ll come back, not your little boy anymore (except for the fact that he will always be) but an adult man, able to help you and be a loving son and friend for the rest of your life. You seem like you raised him well; it will come back to you, don’t worry.

Make sure you call your mom today. :slight_smile:

Last night I kissed him on top of his head, (he was sitting down, so I could reach him) and said, “Where are you going? You just got here!”

Time flies when you’re a parent.

You’re a good person, and I’m sure, a good parent. The kid will grow more the next few years in school and might become a new person. From what I can glean, you’ve done a fine job. You’re close enough, yet far enough away.

Imagine how he feels about the entire thing!

Halfway through the OP I had to stop blinking so the tears wouldn’t fall.

Godspeed to your boy, ivylass.


Well, I’m just glad he didn’t die in the end. Which is what I, the perennial Dope pessimist, assumed from your thread title… :wink: :smiley:

Anyway, what Anaamika said.

Bonzo, for his junior year at the U of I, has moved into an apartment with two friends, one male, one female. My only hope is that his landlady doesn’t evict him sometime during October for messiness above and beyond the norm.

I was stunned to find that, although dropping him off at a college dorm two years ago left me emotionally unfazed, the prospect of dropping him off at his own apartment left me wracked with anxiety for the two weeks prior, once it sunk in that this time, he was leaving and he basically wasn’t coming back again, because college boys with their own lease on an apartment don’t come home for long leisurely vacations–they stay in town and work. So that may be something for you to not be surprised if it happens to you, “The First Apartment Trauma”.

And I too bombarded him with advice, both times. The interesting difference was, when he was 18, I got the impatient, “Yes, Mom…” and the irritable, “I’m fine, I’m fine…” and the refusal to accept help.

But this time, he not only listened respectfully to my preliminary advice about how to cope with landlords and roommates and leases, but he also allowed me to butt in to their “Opening Act With The Landlady” and lead her through the “Dings and Scratches” checklist (because neither he nor the girl roommate who was there for the handing-over-of-the-keys seemed like they were up to the challenge of handling this particular landlady). Afterwards I apologized to him for butting in, but he said, quite cheerfully, “No, no, I was glad you were there, because I didn’t know what to do.” Which just bowled me over. First time I’d ever heard that. :smiley:

And then he allowed me to take him to Wal-Mart and present him with $170 worth of stuff like masking tape and toilet bowl cleaner, which is something he would NEVER have allowed me to do two years ago. It would have been, “I’m fine, I’m fine, Mom, I don’t NEED that…”

So you can look forward to this, Ivylass. Meeting your son all over again as one adult to another in a couple of years.

Be positive: think of the grandchildren you’ll have all too soon.

Awww. You made me cry.

He sounds an awful lot like mine (Lil Lestat[sup]TM[/sup]) who will soon turn 24. I despaired for him for so long because he is so smart and so bullheaded. There came a time when his life was no longer up to me and I had to let go. Wow! Who is this new young man who I love to chat with, who makes me laugh, who takes his future seriously? Well, whaddya know, it’s my boy! :slight_smile:

You know, it doesn’t sink in, what you’ve said.

I read this and I think, yea, yea, but my kid is still 5. (OK, he turns 6 next month). I’ve got all the time in the world. Somehow I don’t recall how it seems like yesterday when he was similing goofily at us from a bassinet, unable to do more than gurgle, and now he’s seen all the Star Wars movies and can confidently explain to me which planet is the home of the Wookies. No, no, I think to myself, I have all the time in the world.

[hands over ears]
La la la la I’m not listening…

Maybe you can improve things but I’m a big believer in the principle that you can never end a relationship with anyone you can only change its nature. Happens even with the dead - they aren’t even here but you stil relate to them, people bitch and moan about partners they have ditched or have been ditched by. So just enjoy what you do get and take it easy.

My younger son is at Uni now but we get together every 2 weeks and go out together, mostly to a movie but the important thing is that he looks forward to it as much as I do and we make sure it happens.

One day, a few years down the track, ask him something about dinosaurs and hold his hand or buy him a beer.

:: snif ::

This thread makes me all teary, and I don’t even have kids!

But I saw how my family-friends’ kids are growing up, the one who went back to New Zealand a few weeks ago, and they’re amazing, totally cool people.

You weren’t the only one.
Nice post Ivylass. He’ll be back at Thanksgiving with laundry.

BTW Ivylass, given my recent experience, there’ll be about five or so disappointing years where contact thins out and he doesn’t appreciate you as much as he should – and then family will get important to him again all of a sudden around 23 or so. Don’t stress :slight_smile:

Ye brought tears to m’eyes, lassie! How well I remember the day our youngest lad strode out of the house to wrestle the world into order.

He’ll be back, ivylass. I know the emptiness you feel now, but it’ll fill up in time with a friendship you never thought possible.

Thanks mate. :smiley:

The days are long but the years are short. Right now my 3 year old is in a phase where every hour can seem like a year. But when I think back to when he was born, it seems like yesterday.