A ghost. I think there's a ghost in my house. Or maybe it's the lack of a ghost. For the last few days when my whole little nuclear family is together it feels like something is missing. Like some person is missing.
My oldest son turned seventeen yesterday. He's a young man, has been for a while now. He's over six feet tall, going to the community college instead of high school. He flies across the country to do good work for a fantastic denomination that empowers youth to do good stuff. He's been on the verge of young adulthood for a while now.
Turning seventeen lets you go to R rated movies. That and you can, well...um. Yeah, that's about it. Movies. But it's a whole lot closer to eighteen than sixteen was.
One of the great things about our work, homeschool and school schedule this year is our little calm spots. We have a few eddies built into the rush of life. Mondays happen to be one of them. Yesterday we all met up for a burger-fest lunch right in the middle of the day to celebrate the birthday.
As my husband and I walked to the car I looked at our three boys and the scene took on a cinema-zoomed out view. The boys were walking, shoulders together, heads close in animated conversation plotting some overthrow of the banking system or their next song for the band or their next hair color. And zoomed out I could see the men they are growing to be. I could see the strong, confident, handsome men peeking out. Climbing out, really. Emerging through the broad shoulders, good hair and long strides. It made me stop cold in my tracks. Tears came to my eyes. Men, they'll be men, grown men.
So today when we were back to normal family life flow making burritos for dinner all at once I felt it again. "It feels like someone is missing."
My middle son said "maybe you're missing the younger Michael"
Maybe that's it. Maybe I'm missing my little boy. Zap, what a hole. As the young man emerges the young boy disappears.
Like so much of raising children, the hard things are lifted and soar with the wonderful things. It's all good. Grown men are what little boys become. It's wonderful, beautiful.
And it leaves a little boy sized hole straight in my heart.