See this cutie? I got to spend the day with him yesterday. Just he and I. I loved every minute of it. Every single minute. He made me laugh – like always. He asked me to watch one of his favorite movies with him. So I did. I had some one on one time with him…doing what he wanted. You know, getting in his world. I love my time alone with my boys. It is precious and invaluable.
Every year since the boys started school they have gotten a “hooky day” for their birthday (sorry teachers). They get checked out of school and I take the day off. If they have an event or a test on their actual birthday and need to be at school, we just try to pick a different day for our “hooky day.” We go eat or go to a movie or whatever they want to do. We just spend the day together. It is their day and my time with them. It’s a time to escape from normal routines. When they were little, both boys got to enjoy each other’s hooky days. But at 16 and 20 it’s not so easy anymore.
Madden used his hooky day yesterday for his driving test instead of on his actual birthday. We got up at 5:00 a.m., drove to Shawnee because the lines are shorter there. He took his driving test and passed. My baby is now a licensed driver! Yay Mad! Then we drove back home to eat at the restaurant he chose because it was his day. He didn’t really want to go to a movie this time. He wanted to go home so we could watch one of his favorite movies. So that’s what we did. We curled up on the couch and watched his movie. These are my most favorite days. I savor the time. Because this chapter will be closed all too soon.
Karen Kingsbury wrote a book about enjoying the lasts and it made an impact on me. As parents we tend to focus on the “firsts.” The first time they sleep through the night, roll over, sit up, walk, the first day of school, first dance, first game, etc. We don’t tend to focus so much on the “lasts.” Since skimming through her book several years ago (I’m going to read it soon), I’ve made an effort to anticipate the lasts so I can savor them.
So in August being mindful this was my last year of taking Madden to school for his first day, I savored it. I knew in my mind it was my last. Next year he will drive himself. I try to proactively prepare for any lasts. The ones I can pinpoint anyway. I want to pinpoint them so I can purposefully savor them by being in the moment, enjoying, listening, breathing it in, knowing it is special and being mindful it is a last. For me, when I focus on this approach – anticipating and savoring, it is a positive experience. Otherwise, I think I would feel gloom and doom and I would be spending my time dreading instead of savoring. I want to savor.
For the last 6 months, I have been Madden’s driving instructor. I’ve been preparing myself for the last time I would drop him off at school and the last time he would actually “need” me to take him somewhere. So when he needed more driving time and asked if I wanted to get a snow cone or ice cream at 8:00 p.m. when I was already in my pajamas…I of course jumped up threw on some clothes and away we went. Even when I was ready to crawl in my bed. I have loved every minute of it. My waist line has not. But I never know when it might be my last snow cone or ice cream so I want to savor that too.
I told Madden I would need some sort of transition period to prepare myself for this major change in my own life. My baby got his license! I asked him if I could go ahead and just take him to school like I have been for the rest of the year, just to allow me more time to adjust. He of course said…a big fat “NO.”
Last evening, I followed Madden out to his truck and watched as he got in, started his vehicle and drove off for the first time completely by himself. He stopped long enough for me to take a couple of pictures. I drive him crazy with my pictures. But he reluctantly agreed only because he knows it is important to me. Well that and I wasn’t taking no for an answer. He said, “Okay but I’m only taking four.” I said great and took about 15. He has just started a completely different chapter of his life. A whole new world. A world of more independence and responsibility. It’s also a completely new chapter for Scott and me. He is our youngest so now our days of driving our kids to and from school are over. And let me tell you – they flew by. When they are little, you think it will never end…you will forever be their taxi service. And then one day, just like that…it’s over. It literally flashes before your eyes. I am thankful for the many firsts and lasts I have been able to savor. Bittersweet!
It’s days like this I find myself thinking back to my mother and all of the sweet stuff she missed. It makes me want to savor even more.
Finding the sweet side of crazy!