Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Checks and Checkmates.



I was having a parent-teacher conference and at the end of it, the kids walked in. He was included in that group of kids and he walked near me all big-kid style and waved his hand. "Hey Mom." This was decidedly different from the "Hi Mom-meeeeee!" and knee-cap bear hug that I used to get at the pre-school when he was three years-old. And as if moving from "mama" to "mommy" wasn't bad enough, this transition to "mom" feels so . .so. . . . something.

Far away? Distant? I don't know.

Yes. Even coming from a seven year-old.

But it wasn't the "mom" or the loss of the exclamation point on the end of it that grabbed me deep in my chest. It was seeing him stroll in and then plop on the floor with a friend in front of a chess board.

"Chess?" I asked his teacher, Mrs. Reed.

"Oh, yes! Isaiah plays chess."

And that was news to me, seeing as neither his mama or his daddy play chess. Or his mommy or his mom either.

"How did he learn to play chess?"

Mrs. Reed smiled and shrugged in that way that super-patient, non-sweaters-of-small-stuff first-grade teachers do. So I leaned over and asked him. "Who taught you to play chess?"

"I learned from my friend Daniel. Then I just watched people until I knew how."

Of course.

My sister, Deanna, does play chess and she confirmed that this was not just checkers-with-fancy-pieces, but real, true chess that he professed to be playing. And it was. My baby plays chess now. Chess. And I don't.

Imagine that.

I guess I'm thinking about transitions tonight. Like, tonight I was at the graduation dinner for our graduating residents and I looked across the room at one of the graduates in particular. Lindsay M. was laughing with her friends and her long blonde hair was blown straight and hanging past her shoulders. I recalled meeting her several years before. It was very early in her second year of medical school and she'd been assigned to work with me as her faculty mentor for "clinical methods".

I watched her and let myself imagine her standing in the lobby of Grady Hospital waiting for me in the short, overly-white med student coat. Back then, her hair was in golden chin-length ringlets and she had the nervous disposition of a novice. But not any more.


Now? That bright and earnest medical student has bloomed into a strong, confident and highly competent physician. One who has chosen one of the most difficult paths of all -- Infectious Diseases -- which I know for certain that she will handle with aplomb. But still. Seeing her across that room all grown up and then knowing that I was there way back when put a pang in my heart. I swear it seems like yesterday that I was showing her how find pulses and palpate thyroid glands. Damn.

Seriously. Where does all the time go? I don't know.

It's late and I'm still up because I'm packing the last of the boys things for the most special camp in all the land. Tomorrow Isaiah and Zachary will head to Camp PaPa on the west coast for some good, rich time with my father. I was looking back through some pictures and just realized that this would be our fifth year sending them there. Five years!

Both were potty-trained by their Grandpa and so much more. This will be the longest stretch that they've gone, but since they're older now we agreed that this would be fine. And good, too.

PaPa says that maybe he'll have to learn how to play chess. Or maybe Isaiah will teach him.

Chess? When'd Isaiah learn how to play chess? When'd he get old enough to even understand chess?

Lawd. Lawd. Lawd.

Seriously? I have no idea where the time goes. None at all. But I am learning to pay close attention to each move as it's played out in my life. Each laugh. Each hug. Each milestone. The best I can.


Check.


Check.
Check. 



"Hey Mom. Can I borrow your car?"

"My what?"

Checkmate.

***

12 comments:

  1. DANG, those little guys are cute!

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    1. Yours are super adorable, too! Thanks, E!

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  2. This made me smile...mine is now a newly minted lawyer...where did the time go indeed?

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    1. A LAWYER? Lawd, lawd, lawd. See? That sounds too much like "grown" to me! *clutching my chest* LOL!

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  3. yes indeed. it is just like that.

    and it's a lovely thing that you boys have such great bonding time with their grand. my kids spent every august with my mom in st. lucia until the oldest went to college. it has enriched their lives immeasurably.

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    1. I needed to read that this morning while sitting in a quiet house. :)

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  4. Oh, I so so soooooooo share this feeling. The transition from "mama" to "mommy" to "mom" took me be surprise... both times! Where did my babies go? What happened? How can my little boy be grown enough to leave home?!

    Funnily enough, "daddy" stays for much longer than "mommy". I don't know what the deal is there.

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    1. I know! Why does "daddy" get to be "daddy" longer? Hmmmm. . . .

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  5. You have a very smart little boy there. Is there any way I can go to Camp Pa Pa. It sounds like a whole lotta fun!

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  6. Such darling little boys! You are indeed blessed!

    I remember that feeling so well. But the one that hit me hardest was one day when I was innocently minding my own business, doing the grocery shopping. An unknown (to me) lady stepped up and introduced herself, saying, "You're Jason and Eric's Mom, aren't you?" It struck me - ha! - I wasn't just "Jae" any longer - I was "Jason and Eric's Mom." And Adam's Mom too, though she didn't know Adam then.

    Just yesterday, I was talking with my older sister, who raised me during my first four years on this earth, and I asked her, "How in the world did I get to be (almost) 60 years old?" She said, "I don't KNOW - how did I get to be 74? Do you think they lied on our birth certificates?" LOL...

    Time marches on...we get older...little boys grow up to (hopefully) become fine young men. It's what must happen - and we want that to happen - but sometimes I'd give anything to go back (just for a day) to when mine were just tiny, sweet little fellas again, picking wildflowers for "mommy." ....smiles...

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    1. *gasping*

      That sounds sooooo sweet. . . picking wildflowers for "mommy." It's hard to realize that I'm 41 and my parents are in their sixties. Time flies. .. sigh.

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