I Blinked and He Grew Up by Dana Klosner

My son is graduating college this year. Bigger than that, he’s in love. How did that happen? When did I blink?

I didn’t cry when he went to college. I didn’t cry when he went half-way around the world to Australia for a semester abroad. I didn’t even cry when he told me he took a permanent job in San Francisco. But when he called from college to say he was cutting winter break two weeks short to take his girlfriend to Puerto Rico, I cried for two hours. He isn’t mine anymore, he’s all grown up.

He’s always been a late bloomer – and yes, a bit of a “Momma’s boy.”  When he was born, I said I was going to create the perfect boyfriend without realizing that meant I would have to give him up one day.

As a baby, he hardly ever slept. We would drive him around the neighborhood to get him to fall asleep, then as soon as we transferred the car seat into the apartment the waterworks would begin. He only slept if I slept with him. I have to admit, a part of me loved that. He would rest his little head on my chest, and all the way back then I thought that one day a girl would rest her head on his chest. Wasn’t that yesterday?  As he grew, he was my little friend. Always under my feet. Always in the same room. I was a reporter, and I had to climb on the back of the couch when I was doing a phone interview to keep him from grabbing the pen out of my hand. He would accompany me to the newspaper office to drop off stories and pick up faxes. I loved when everyone would ooh and aah over what a gorgeous baby he was. Sometimes he even came with me when I went out to cover events.

When he was two, we moved from Monterey to Maryland. I didn’t know a soul. He was my little friend. We went to all the “Mommy and Me” classes. He would happily run in circles, while I would work on forging friendships with the other Mommies. He always had to have me in his sight. At home, when he was watching TV in the living room I would say, “Bryan, I’m going in the basement.” He would say “Okay Mommy.” But he was watching Pokémon and I knew he wasn’t listening so I would have him repeat me. I would say, “Bryan, where am I going?” And he would say, “You’re going in the basement, Mommy.” As soon as I hit the bottom step the screaming would start, “Mommy, Mommy, where are you?!” It may have made it hard to do laundry, but a part of me loved it.

When he was in pre-school, he was so shy that when the teacher took attendance, he would discreetly whisper into his best friend’s ear and his friend would say, “Bryan’s here.” He has a late birthday, so we kept him in pre-school one more year. He started kindergarten a month shy of six-years-old. Because of that decision, he soared in school. Always in Honors and AP classes he graduated with a 4.49 GPA. But he was always quiet and on the shy side. Moving from Maryland to New York when he was 10 didn’t help matters. He was an active, sports loving kid, so we put him on every sport we could think of so he could make friends. Because of that, all his friends were boys. He came into bloom junior year in High School. Suddenly he had hundreds of friends, of the male and female varieties. His social life was incredible. I couldn’t keep track of all his plans and all his friends’ names. His friends all started dating but he didn’t. As far as that went, he was still my shy little boy.

Time marched on. He graduated high school. He went to college in Boston, five hours away. He started his own life there. He was independent. But still, he came home for every break and called every week.

Then it happened. It was a week before Winter Break. He was due to come home on Friday. He called. He asked very nicely, if I would mind if he came home on Sunday instead of Friday. I gave him some good-hearted grief about how his friends meant more to him than his mother, but I said okay, after all what difference did a couple of days make? It didn’t stop there. He called again, “Mom, if it’s alright with you I’m going to leave on December 30th.” December 30th. That’s almost two weeks before school starts. Why would he possibly want to leave home two weeks early? “Okay,” I squeaked out. “How come?” The answer took me completely off guard. “I’m taking my girlfriend on vacation.”  The floor went out from under me. That’s it. It’s over. My little boy isn’t mine anymore.

I flashed back to kindergarten orientation. Hand in hand, we found his classroom. He let go when he met the other kids. I was busy meeting the other moms and his teacher. I was so proud of him. He was ready. We walked outside and the bell rang. He said, “Mom what’s that?” I said “That’s the bell. In school the bell schedules everything. The bell rings when class begins, it rings when it’s time for lunch, it rings when it’s time for recess and it rings when school ends.” Then it hit me. My baby boy was leaving. He was about to have a life on his own without me. In my head I screamed, “BRYAN, DON’T GO!!!!” But it my heart I knew it was time.

So, now as he embarks on his new life, hand in hand with his girlfriend.  In my head I scream, “BRYAN, DON’T GO!!!” While out loud I wish him a great adventure and all the happiness in the world as he drives off into the sunset and starts the next chapter.

  1. 3 Responses to “I Blinked and He Grew Up by Dana Klosner”

  2. Great writing…captures how most all parents feel.

    By Eugene Light on Jan 23, 2019

  3. Aww, I remember that little boy. Still a little boy to me.

    By Bart J. DeLio on Jan 24, 2019

  4. I can still see you and P sitting on my sofa in the apartment in Long Beach and saying “We’re having a baby”. I think my response was “A baby what?” because a baby baby was just about the last thing I was expecting.

    By Grace Hill on Jan 24, 2019