They're Getting To Big To Cuddle, Or Jamie Foxx Can Kiss My Grits

We sat together on the porch the other night, my husband and I, and under starry skies Mr Rationally Unemotional gazed squarely into the eyes of Ms. Happy Go Medicated and asked, "When exactly did they grow up? I mean, really; it wasn't supposed to happen this fast."  And all I could muster in reply was, "I dunno, but I think it was a while ago."

Earlier that day, I'd called one of 2of3's buddies who was rumoured to be having a pool party, and after confirming with the boys mother that it was all a big big fake fake lie, she told me about a letter she'd found in her son's room. It was a letter that 2of3 had written to the girl he has a crush on, and she asked if she could read it to me, on the condition that I never tell him she had. Um, of course? Hit me, yo.

He said (and I'm more or less quoting here) that he needed to tell her how he felt, which was that he loved her, and that loving her meant that when he sees her, it's as though he's seeing an angel and when he's near her, it's as though he's close to heaven. And, of course, that if she liked him back, he'd like it if she wrote him back.

Holy poet, Batman. Not bad for nine, I'd say. But when did he learn those sorts of analogies? When did he learn to feel so strongly for another person? When did he learn how to write?

We all say things like Oh, It Goes So Fast and It'll Be Over Before We Know It but then one day something smacks you upside the head like your child being able to effectively woo and it's different from the first words or steps or loose teeth because there isn't one stinking pediatrician in the world with a chart that graphs the proper ages for sonnet-writing and zombie-movie-appreciation and cursing-in-context and breakouts. It's just stuff you never, ever see coming and when it does come, they're doing everything in their power to hide that shit from you. Because once they become independent people, internally, they don't exactly take a minute and say, "You know what, mom? You've been awesome, and really...thanks for the womb rental, it was totally cozy in there, but I think it's time for us to go our separate ways. Except, could you maybe still wash my colors and make me an occasional casserole? I'll be sure to hug you once in a while and maybe throw you the random bone in return. Speaking of which, I'm the lead in the school play. Tomorrow."

They don't tell you this because they know you'll be all, "Dude? What the barnacles? You know I was on set crew for years in high school, right? Can I help you run your lines tonight? Do you need a costume? Is it a romantic lead? Do you KISS A GIRL?" How's the set? Do you need me to run up there with my hot glue gun and some foam core..." and then they'll have to look you in the eyes and say, "Woman, you are so totally missing the point of this conversation" and then you'll start to cry a little at the unfairness of the whole thing and no one wants to see their mother cry so instead, they just sit silently in the front seat of the car with their cap pulled all the way down over their eyes and their shoulders so hunched in together, you wonder if someone hadn't installed hinges on their spine when you weren't looking and they save themselves a whole lot of headache.

And you never, ever know they've grown up, until they have. Or until you send them outside to clean the car one fine Saturday morning.

And as they clean the car, they ask for the keys which they properly get into the ignition just enough to turn on that radio station, the one your mother hated you listening to when you were little, and they sing along to all their favorite songs while they work and you listen. You listen, and you remember sitting in your room, waiting for Dick Clark* to announce the next track, which was some amazingly crafted piece of music that was clever and important and relevant, like The Humpty Dance, and so you let them have their moment. You've, of course, already had the talk with them about that Britney girl, and how though you aren't one to censor their music, that tramp just can never come into your home in any fashion. They've asked why and you've asked them to quote the hook in her newest single and they've said, "But all the boys and all the girls are dying to, If U Seek Amy" and you've asked them what If U Seek Amy spells and even let them say the word, because you've  learned that when you're trying to make A Crucial Parenting Point, a properly-placed f-bomb tends to make or break the argument. And when they sheepishly say Fuck, because they're not entirely sure this isn't a trap, and then you ask them what Fuck means and they really just don't know, so you tell them it means sex and that means that a young woman is singing into the radio that all the boys and all the girls are dying to have sex with her, they get it. They instantly hate that song and that girl because they're still just young enough to not want to have sex with anyone yet, and thank you Jebus for that.

So you listen, knowing that they'll change it if they feel they have to, and then Jamie Foxx's new single comes on the station and you grind your teeth into dust because he's not saying anything awful that you can make out, he's doesn't seem to be swearing or talking down on women and he's not screaming Fuck The Police just like your favorite group at their age did, so you feel like you've got to let this one slide even though your nine year old whom you've just realized is in L.O.V.E. is bopping around, scrubbing the wheel-wells with his still-just-a-little-pugdy fingers, singing Blame it on the vodka, blame it on the henny. Blame it on the blue tap got you feeling dizzy. Blame it on the ah-ah-ah-alcohol, blame it on the ah-ah ah-ah ah-al-co-hol. And then you're all, Ooooh, that's when they grew up, when they started listening to the fucking Peak.

And when they're done, you have them inside with their four best tweenaged friends and the six of them watch The Sixth Sense, and you kind of smile a little because you realize you've reached the point where they can not only enjoy more intelligent, sophisticated and complicated things in life, but they can effectively filter out f-bombs in movies, which means the ensuing Summer of M. Night Shymalan is going to be so much more bearable than the previous Summer Of Home Alone was, and just when you're feeling pretty damn good about them growing up, you sit down to write a blog post about it and you google the lyrics to Jaime Foxx's newest single and then you have a heart attack and fucking die dead in your chair and then you decide that you all are moving back to Dutch Pennsylvania which is really close to where you grew up and were nobody so much as thinks what that man has throngs of children across North America belting out in their suburban driveways on chore day under cumulus clouds.

*For all you youngin's out there, Dick Clark is an evil, undead zombie vampire who, once upon a time, found the perfect genome for human cloning and his very first lab test resulted in evil personified. AND SQUARED. I believe it's commonly known as Ryan Seacrest these days.