“It’s your sixteenth birthday!” I declared this morning to my son, who was half-awake. “Do you feel different today?”
“Yes,” he replied, deadpan. “I feel totally transformed.”
This is where I’m supposed to post pictures of him as a baby and ask where the time went. But I know where the time went.
It went to playdates and class trips and Baby Gap and the ER, for stitches to the head from a “light saber” (hockey stick) by “Darth Vader” (his little brother).
It went to running next to him down the bunny slope to teach him how to ski.
It went to potty training and dioramas and God-when-will-it-ever-end? colic. (At 3½ months, which felt like 3½ years.)
It went to swim lessons and birthday parties and “What was that noise?”
It went to lying with him, then 6, on my lap, on the couch, both of us trying to pretend that “Free Willy” wasn’t making us cry.
It went to greetings at the door like I had been missing at sea and presumed dead, when really, I was just at the gym on a Saturday morning.
It went to “Pick me up at 10, and can you bring Drew home, too?”
It went to the look on his face when he saw me in my hospital bed, the day after I was diagnosed with cancer.
It went to remission — five years of it, so far.
It went to realizing how freaking high up the parasail at the Jersey Shore was on a particularly windy summer day, both of us wondering whether we’d wind up slammed against the facade of a hotel, as we held on as tight as we could.
It went to his first date, and the last Lego stuck in my vacuum.
It went to witnessing about a dozen fireworks shows over New Jersey, from on top of the Empire State Building, at dusk in July.
It went to my pantry, which is never quite full enough.
It went to the Teletubbies, Bill Nye, the Science Guy, and The Colbert Report.
It went to raising a young man, who’s not quite done being raised.
And I’m still here to witness it, enjoy it, be annoyed by it, and to cherish it.
And to pick up Drew.