When Boys Become Men

The other day I worked a few hours in the mid-day so that the full-time staff could attend a meeting together. Karl was heading into the gym anyway to work out so I grabbed a ride with him. I made arrangements with “Fred” to pick me up, which turned out to be a good thing since I had forgotten my phone.

When I finished work I headed to the front door to wait for my ride. A number of welcoming couches sit in the lobby with a good view of the circle where cars pick up and drop off people. I thought about sitting — I tend to stand and pace when I lifeguard — but a man was sitting on one of the couches and I didn’t feel like making small talk so I stood at the door.

I stood.

And waited.

And watched.

Fred must have forgotten me, I figured. Fifteen minutes had passed and there was no sign of him. Sometimes he gets involved in his reading and loses track of the time. Really, don’t we all do that when we’re in the midst of a good book?

I walked back to the pool and called the landline at the house. No one answered, so I left a message, and walked back out to wait some more.

My feet were tired. I wanted to sit, but that darn man was still sitting in the lobby, his back to me, engrossed in a book. I sighed and decided to chance the small talk.

When I rounded the couch, I realized that the man was Fred!

How can a mother not recognize her own son?

One minute a little boy’s eyes are twinkling with mischief. His hair is tousled or buzzed right off. His t-shirts reveal what he had for lunch that day — or dinner the night before. His knees are covered with Buzz Lightyear bandaids. His feet are bare.

And the next minute, he’s six foot something, with hair cut by a stylist and clothes carefully coordinated for the activities of the day.

My whole family was together this past weekend. The kids all went into the sports center to play squash and swim. One of the ladies at the front desk stopped me on Monday.

“I saw some of your boys at the gym this weekend,” she said.

“They were all at the gym,” I told her.

“Even Sam?” she asked. She knows he lives thousands of miles away.

“Yes, even Sam,” I replied.

I pulled out my phone to show her a picture I had taken while everyone was together.

“Oh, my,” she said as I identified each of my children. “They’re all so grown up!”

Back row: Philip, Amanda, Sam, Donna, me, Bud
Middle row: Helen, Laurel, Owen, Emily
Middle row .5: Henry
Front row: Mary, Karl, “Fred”

Yes, they are.

Boys become men.

Girls become women.

Family remains family — and grows.

I am so blessed.



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