“Mama, when can I be big?” Colten’s blue eyes brimmed with tears.
I got down on one knee to comfort my little one. “You’ll be big soon enough.”
He stomped his foot. “Everybody’s doin’ sumpin’ and I’m here. Alone.”
“You’re not alone, I’m here and so is Daddy.”
“But I wanna be big. Mama, when can I be big?”
I hugged my son then he scooted off in pursuit of little boy interests. I couldn’t be distracted that quickly, though. Instead my mind wandered to the future. What kind of man will Colten turn out to be? I sat in a chair and started to pray.
“Lord, please help my boy stay pure. Help him to grow to love You and accept You as his Lord and Savior. I pray for his future wife. She’s probably having a tea party or maybe she’s just pulled a worm out of the ground and is dangling it in front of her baby sisters. Whoever she is, help her to know You, too. Thank You, for being with my Colty.”
Colten ran through the kitchen. I scooped him up in a bear hug and gave him a sloppy kiss.
He slipped his pudgy arms around me and gave me a sloppy kiss back. I never wanted this moment to end.
Tom knocked on our son’s dorm room door. We were eager to see how much he’d changed since we dropped him off at the beginning of the school year. Colten soon emerged; hair tousled, bared chest, and colorful boxers. I brushed past Tom. I needed a hug from my boy like I needed to breathe.
I stopped when I heard a female voice. “Who is it, Colt?”
My heart sank. I backed away and grabbed hold of Tom’s arm for balance.
“Oh, umm, it’s my parents, Hon. Go on back to sleep.” Colten turned his attention back to us, a little more alert now. “Mom, Dad, you didn’t call first.”
Tom spoke. I couldn’t find my voice. I had a lump in my throat from holding back tears.
“Son, we didn’t know we needed an invitation. Your mother wanted to surprise you.”
I came back to my senses a bit. I lifted my hands up and touched my baby’s cheeks. “Surprise!”
“Get dressed. We need to talk.”
“I can’t, Dad. Sorry. I have plans with umm… Tiff today. You know, studying and stuff like that.”
“We won’t be long.”
While we waited for Colten, ‘Tiff’ strutted through the room, scantily clad, not even embarrassed that we were there.
Colten quickly dressed. He kissed Tiffany on the lips and patted her butt. We heard him whisper, “Be back soon.”
We walked across the campus quad to a shaded spot. Colten’s head dropped but when he looked up, his eyes were vacant. None of us knew what to say, which created an eerie silence. Tom broke it.
“Who is this Tiffany, Son?”
“She’s my girlfriend, okay?”
“You’ve never talked about her. Is she a Christian?” Tom kept his temper in check.
“What’s it to you? I’m an adult now. I can sleep with who I want. I’m sorry I’m not perfect like you and mom.”
I winced as reality slapped me in the face. What happened to my little boy? Somehow I now stood in front of a man – a confused man, but a man none-the-less. I leaned against a tree as memories swirled in my head. This was all vaguely familiar. I shook it off. I didn’t want to remember.
“You’re right. You are an adult so you can pay your college bills from now on. That means, get a job, Son, and quit playing house with the girls.”
I grabbed hold of Colten’s arm before he stormed away in anger. “Remember when you wanted to be big? This is your time. Show us what being big means. We’ll never quit loving and praying for you.”
He kissed me on the cheek and whispered, “Love you, Mom.”
We watched as our youngest son walked away in anger.
I buried my head in Tom’s chest.
“Babe, we made our mistakes. It’s time for him to make his own.”
I looked into his eyes, “But maybe we should have told him about the mistakes me made in college, Tom.”
“I don’t think so.”
“If he knew we had struggles like his, he might talk to us.”
“That’s all in the past.”
“But Tom, don’t you see? Our past has just collided with his present.”
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