The progression of the mighty process of growing up is so gradual that it is almost imperceptible to parents battling on the front lines. The minutiae of day to day life masks it almost completely. Little changes are only noticed weeks and sometimes months after they happen, and often in their absence: a kid isn't crawling into your lap for a cuddle, he doesn't need help tying his shoes, his english paper is turned in without your edits. It hits you a bit too late that another milestone has been missed, and both of you are further along the road to adulthood than you had realized just last week.
With Primo in his senior year of high school, those moments are multiplied and magnified right now. Last night we went the local high school's musical. One of the leads was his good friend from elementary school. To see him up there commanding the performance, with his deep voice and stage presence, snapped me back to their days of skinny legs and unkempt hair, unsure manners and too-short pants, goofy smiles and sweet temperaments. How did it happen that high school is almost at an end for them, and they are already on the threshold of an entirely new stage of life?
Another one today, quick on the heels of last night. This weekend is the 4-H Teen Conference for our area of the state. For as many years as Primo has been attending, I have driven down with all the teen attendees from our club piled in the back of our car. This year though, Primo and his friend were deemed responsible enough to drive themselves and the rest of the club members. Watching the car pull away on route to pick up others and head down, without me to check on their accomodations and make sure they hung up their clothes when they got there, not to mention missing all the silliness in expectation of a weekend away from their parents, was more than a little heart-wrenching.
Though they did get lost on the way there, and arrived 45 minutes late. They may be travelling by themselves down the road of life more frequently these days, but it's a good reminder that they aren't always entirely sure of the direction.