Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Brandon by Karin Gillespie

If you’ve never been a mother, I can tell you exactly what happens. One minute you have a microscopic zygote embedded in your uterus, the next minute that zygote has grown a full beard and is maneuvering two-tons of motorized metal down the expressway.

How did this happen? My son Brandon is turning twenty-one soon, and I have a couple of problems with it. Number one, I’m far too young to be the mother of someone who’s old enough to swill Wild Turkey. Number two, it was only yesterday that Brandon was calling spaghetti “gebbies” and was grooving to Raffi.

It’s amazing how your child’s maturity can sneak up on you. The other day when I was on my way to the grocery store Brandon said, “Mom can you pick me up some diet Snapple? I’m watching my sugar consumption.”

Watching his sugar consumption? There was a time when sugar was the only thing he was interested in consuming. I tried to recall the last time I had sugary ‘kiddy litter” like Fruit Roll-Ups or Cap’n Crunch in the house. Where had the Keebler elves and the Lucky Charms Leprechaun gone? I miss them.

And Christmas isn’t the same. It used to be that as soon as Brandon blew out his birthday candles he began composing his Christmas list. It would be a work in progress, ruminated over and revised daily. The list would invariably include one item that was nearly possibly to obtain, just to keep me on my toes

Every Christmas I’d either be wrestling some mother for the last Play Station, paying triple price for an elusive Teenage Mutant Turtle action figure or standing on a street corner on the seedy part of town hissing at passers by, “You got any Beanie Babies?”

This year I actually I had to coax Brandon to tell me what he wanted for Christmas.

“I don’t know, Mom,” he said with a shrug. “Maybe some sweaters.”

I was a little crestfallen. A sweater is such easy prey. There’d be no rioting in the aisles for a wool cardigan.

But I really knew that Brandon’s childhood was truly over when I was visiting with a young mother and her four-year-old son was playing with an unfamiliar looking doll.

“Who is that?” I asked.

The mother seemed appalled. It was as if I’d failed to recognize the president.

“That’s Spongebob Square Pants!”

She proceeded to tell me Spongebob’s entire biography. How he lives in a pineapple with a pet snail named Gary. How he has thrill-seeking squirrel friend named Sandy Cheeks.

I can’t remember the last time Brandon and I had watched cartoons together. Where did that child go? I swear he was here only a week ago.

Truth is, he’s been replaced by someone else. Someone who eats sushi and watches moody indie films. Someone who has more concern about what he’s going to give for Christmas than what he’s going to get.

Overnight he turned into this whole separate person with all kinds of interests.
Welcome to adulthood, Brandon! It’s been a fun and furious trip. How did we get there so quickly?


Anonymous said...

Awwwwwww, Karin, this is very sweet! Happy Birthday, Brandon.

Of course, there are a lot of cool things still to come, like him getting married, his first child, career...

(Can someone get the smelling salts for Karin?)

Keetha said...

Oh, my. That gave me cold chills. My son is six, finished his first year of school yesterday. I feel like two weeks will go by and he'l have his driver's license.


Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

I understand how you feel. But the really cool thing is, when your kids become young adults or, well, adult-adults, your relationship takes on a different depth. It's cool, actually. I miss having little ones around, but it's wonderful having friends, too.

Beth Fehlbaum
Courage in Patience
Chapter 1 is online!