This morning, as is usual on Wednesdays, I arrived at Ben & Briana's house to spend the day being Granny Nanny to Drew. She and I have developed a routine to our days that satisfies both of us - most of the time! At almost eight months, she's very interactive and loves to laugh and play. She has a prodigious appetite, and makes noises the whole time she's eating. And when she smiles - well, as I described it to her mommy and daddy - it's as if her whole face breaks out in a grin! I love being with her and watching her grow, in the same way I've loved the time I've been with her big brother. I hope that Drew and I will share a closeness similar to what I have with Addison.
Watching these two grow frequently puts me in a nostalgic mood, and I sometimes recall the growing-up years of my own boys. Oh, there were lots of frustrations - anyone who's raised kids knows exactly what I'm talking about - but the frustrations were outweighed by the joys, and I'm always amazed at how quickly the years passed.
Ben, who is my youngest, fell victim to the lousy economy last Fall when he lost his job. He's a graphic designer, and incredibly talented. But we live in an area that is replete with talented men and women who are looking for work, so that makes it both more difficult and more likely that he will find a good job. In the meantime, he's had quite a few freelance jobs come his way, and coupled with Briana's resourcefulness, they're managing just fine.
This morning, though, well it was pretty special for me. Ben had an interview schedule for an actual employment position - hopefully with benefits - and he didn't have to leave as early as usual. When he was ready to go out the door, he kissed me goodbye and I wished him good luck. I looked at this wonderful young man - almost 30 years old now! - and my heart swelled with such pride it almost burst. He stood so tall and handsome in his suit - not the usual jeans and sports shirts graphic design-types usually wear, but a real suit with dress shirt and tie! As I watched him leave, I thought about how lucky I am to have had that moment with him.
Oh, I wish he hadn't lost his old job, of course. It was a good one and they tried very hard to keep him on, despite the economy. But I sometimes take his role as husband and father for granted, and - truthfully, now - I sometimes still think of the little boy who looked to his mom for comfort and reassurance, and I miss those days. Now he finds - as he should, and as I want him to - his main support and encouragement from his wife, and she's his rock. But this morning, just for that fleeting moment, when he said, "Wish me luck, Mom," I was very thankful to be there, to say all the things that you say to your kids when they're venturing out into a world that isn't always kind and welcoming. "Good luck, son," I said. "Try not to be nervous, and just be yourself. Who you are is the best advertisement for your work."
And it's true, whether he gets this job or another one. He is a genuine person, and I'm very proud of that.