This weekend I’m “gone to Texas.” My trip to the U.S. state that defines the notion of “big”is due to my son’s impending graduation from the University of Texas in Austin. After four plus years of wearing cowboy boots and drawling, “y’all,” my boy is entering the great big world of adulthood.
My second born has been my high-maintenance child. From an early age, he developed life-threatening food allergies and asthma. Temperamental from birth, he took a lot out of me physically and emotionally. As he grew up, we had frequent skirmishes over behavior and school achievement. My husband has always said that of my four children, he is the most like me in personality, which is why we have so regularly butted heads.
At the same time, my son has always been highly intelligent, creative, and sensitive. At school, he always took up for the child who was being teased or bullied. At home, he could be found deep into a marathon Lego-building activity or creating a tableau out of action figures. Using our 8 mm video camera, he made silly movies with his friends. No doubt he has had his share of shenanigans in college too. It’s difficult to imagine him in the adult world.
Yet Saturday he will don his cap and gown and, in the words of St. Paul, “put childish things behind” him. He will step out into the adult world of work, taxes, and independence. We have come a long way from the days when I had to pack him peanut-free snacks for school or sleep away camp. A long way from sleepless nights cuddled under a blanket to let the cold night air soothe his terrible cough. With God’s grace, he has grown up to be fine young man, one of whom I am very proud.
So here’s to my lone star in that vast world of Texas. May his boots be shiny, his barbecue tender, and his Longhorns winners. Hook ’em!