Our oldest son has reached that age where he enjoys his personal freedom and, given his druthers, would rather spend time with his friends, preferably away from mom and dad home. He’s also become very particular about where he will allow himself to be seen in public with his mom and dad family. While this somewhat new development isn’t the highlight of my day, I do understand it. Mr. Farklepants and I have been relatively loose with the rules so long as he lets us know where he’s going, where he is, and who he is with. Ninety percent of the time he is with his two closest friends, whom for the sake of this post we will call Steve and Peter. They’re good kids, high achieving when it comes to school, and come from normal families with responsible parents. There have been times where we parents have consulted with one another about the safety of letting the boys attend an unchaperoned event and we even take turns with drop off and pick up if the destination requires a car ride. If they’re hanging out locally, they ride their bikes, scooters or walk.

Yesterday was one of those days that our son was hanging out with Steve and another friend I’d never met, “Dave”. But they’re journey originated at Steve’s house and throughout the day BoyChild#1 would update us on his whereabouts. When it got closer to dinner time I encourage our son to join us and asked him to invite his friends, and even bribed him with a freshly baked chocolate cake. All three declined as they’d just had McDonalds and it was later when I received the text asking if they could stop by for cake and if it would be alright if they had a sleepover at Steve’s. No problem. The boys arrive, we meet Dave, they all have their cake and are set to leave for Steve’s house. I ask the boys if they’d like to have a ride instead of walk. It’s not a long walk but it is up hill a ways.

My son says, “that’s okay, Dave has a car.”

SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECH (you know that sound when someone bumps the record player and the needle skids across the vinyl? That happened.)

In that very instant I felt as if someone had shoved me in a funnel that was lit at the far end. And through the light coming at me where all the most important events of my life leading up to that point with all the less important stuff, like what I had for lunch on a Tuesday when I was nine, whipping by in my peripheral and everything got very quiet like I was swimming beneath the surface of a pool filled with caramel. When my world stopped spinning my oldest son stood before me but it took about 12 seconds for him to appear to be the age his is currently. Because when I first got control of my surroundings there was an infant standing in front of me that quickly changed to a toddler, then preschooler, then elementary aged, then it had braces, then they were gone, and there was my 15 year old.

And that my friends, is what your brain looks like on PARENTHOOD.