She said yes, and just like that, Sweet Baby Raymond became a man. When you have kids, no one gives you an instruction manual. So, as a parent, you are fundamentally unprepared for any significant milestones in that sweet baby’s life. You have no idea what to do with that baby the second you walk out of the hospital. The nurse hands you this tiny human and says “Good Luck” with a smile. If you’re lucky, they will help you put this human in the car seat that most certainly took you three days to figure out how to install. But most likely, they dumped you at the curb with a “Good Luck” and a “you’ll be fine.” There are so many times you are more than sure you will NOT be fine, and you dig through the diaper bag hoping there is some receipt.
As the years go by, you manage to figure out things and your second child is happier for all the trial and error spent on that guinea pig she calls her brother. At least, that is how it was for me. I was so nervous when I had sweet baby Raymond and even more nervous when I was the single mother of him and Ali. But they managed to grow up in one piece and not spend any extra money they have socked away on therapy!
It doesn’t mean it was easy. Raymond started walking when he was nine months old. People would stop and stare at me in the store when they saw this infant walking. He began talking shortly after that, and I’m confident he hasn’t stopped since.
The first milestone was kindergarten. Yes, I cried like a baby when little Raymond hopped on the bus without even looking back. But the first week of kindergarten, little Raymond brought home a note that said: “If Raymond doesn’t stop talking on the bus and not listening to the bus driver, he will no longer be allowed to ride the bus to school.” That would not be the last time he got in trouble on the bus. They don’t mention that when they hand you this tiny human and say “Good Luck.”
Then there was the time little Raymond shot the neighbor’s window with a BB gun. That incident was probably the confirming moment to me that I raised a kind-hearted little boy. While he was safe in his room, where I couldn’t kill him, he wrote a note, disconnected his most prized possession the Playstation and put it and the note on the kitchen table. The note said, “Mom, I’m sorry; please sell my Playstation to help pay for the window.” Again I was crying and not prepared.
When your babies are born, there is this instant bond that you can’t explain to anyone who doesn’t have children. It’s raw instinct, and you instantly are so fiercely protective. So again I was unprepared for when little Raymond broke his wrist while skiing. You have to appear calm and collected when you are racing to the hospital. But all you want to scream is oh my god why does your wrist look like the bone is sticking out if your glove. No, you have to say “it will be fine” echoing that nurse 15 years earlier knowing full well she was a liar!
Then those sweet babies go to college. You are semi-prepared but as much as you may THINK you’re prepared, you are not, and you are a blubbering idiot on the plane ride home and unprepared.
College is the last thing you are semi-prepared for; you are NOT prepared for the conversation that starts “Mom, I love Alyssa, and I’m gonna ask her to marry me.” You are at least grateful he chose to tell you this information in public, so you are forced to keep it together. But you are REALLY not prepared for the phone call, “Mom she said yes!!!”.
The girl who said yes is sweet, talented and kind. She is choosing to spend her life with my little baby, and I, once again, find myself crying and unprepared.