There was a soft knock in the door at 5:30 this morning. A light tapping requesting admittance while not wanting to awake us abruptly as they returned from Project Graduation. There was a thoughtfulness to that knocking and that is when I knew.
Oh, the epiphany first arrived weeks ago, right before my twin sons left for prom. The couples had gathered at our house for pictures, lots of pictures, more than we will ever need, but that is the nature of such moments, yes? Sudden clarity is not. But it arrived anyway. A Mom of one of the dates started fussing over her daughter, worrying about what we discovered right at that moment was an illness she had that required regular medicinal injections. Dealing with this while down The Shore post-prom had Mom worried. Not the daughter. “Mom,” she assured, Sean’s got me.” The mother looked to my son, and Sean gave her a sincere, confident nod. The stunned Mom relaxed.
I was stunned too.
My son accepted the safety of another human being’s health as partly his responsibility.
Both sons did it again when they casually recounted throwing out two hotel crashers not for freeloading off them, but for disrespecting one of the girls there.
Stunned again. And thrilled.
Then my artistic son expressed his emotional response to what was written to him on Yearbook Night. He had no clue people felt these ways about him.
Conscientious. Responsible. Reasonable. Receptive to others. My sons had evolved. They were no longer completely self-involved, acting as members of a community, plugged in.
Then came the soft knock of maturity, and I knew.
My boys have become men.
Christopher Ryan is author of City of Woe, available on Kindle and Nook, and in print. For more info, click here.