Harry Chapin wrote a number of amazing songs. There are two that I hear and resonate with. One was from his Album Living Room Suite and is the story of a little boy who saw all the colors, but the teacher told him that flowers are only red. So the boy stopped seeing flowers in every color and became like every other student. The other is his song The Cat’s in the Cradle. The song starts out with the line a child arrived, just the other day, he came to the world in the usual way. They didn’t, the two, in our living room last night. They came on a tough path. We thought we would lose both of them for a time. Then one of them. But either way it was not a usual entrance into this grand world. They are not perfect but I am so proud of them. Last night was senior prom. It hardly seems like yesterday but it has been a 19 year journey that started in Cincinnati Ohio. My discovery of what was coming next happened in Toronto Canada, but we will get to that in just a bit. For now, we return to Western Hills, a suburb of Cincinnati Ohio and the year is 1997.
The first time we decided to expand our family was Jakki. Born in 1992, Jakki was an amazing baby. She slept through the night. Barb was working a job that was about 100 hours a week at times as a video producer and due to an event that happened at my parents house (Jakki hurt her knee and ran past my mother, my two-sisters and my wife, to me for comfort) Barb left her video production job and came home to be with the kids. Since there was only one kid at that time, Barb started dropping hints about adding a third child to the mix (Becca, Jakki and a baby). We decided in early 1997 to start trying for an addition to our family. We though three was a nice round number. It was the same number of kids that my parents had. It was one more than Barb’s parents had with her and her brother so to us it seemed perfect.
A group of the parents got together for safety and rented a party bus for the kids. It seemed safer than sending them out in cars and hoping nothing bad happened. As we milled around with the parents, there were a lot of parents there, sending our children off to prom it felt like than that. It felt like we were letting go of our children and they would return as adults. Perhaps the transition has, had already begun and we did not see it. Oh I know it happened already, that they stopped being little boys that arrived in Cincinnati Ohio. Or the little boys that went to their first day of school in Indiana. The tears shed as they drove off in the party bus were from their mother. Just as the tears of joy when they were born were from their mother. The tears shed as they wandered off to school that first day, also shed by their mother. She wasn’t only the only teary parent there last night as we bid them adieu.