Crossing Over

Coming-of-age genre films are not very popular in this house, mainly because they always seem to involve tears. Some people, women usually, like to have themselves a “good cry.” Not I. There is no such thing as a good cry. Crying gives me a headache. Crying makes my eyes red and puffy. Crying produces gobs of snot. And if the movie was a family film, then I have a passel of red eyed, snotty kids with headaches that I have to comfort when it’s over.

No, thanks.

Unfortunately, my life is a coming-of-age movie. I’m not the star, of course. I have already come of age, and then some. No, I am watching my children come of age. And my eyes are red and puffy.

Last night, Fritz crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. Earlier in the day, I had, as acting Awards Chair, filled out his Arrow of Light award. It was emotionally difficult, and I told him so.

“I’m growing up, Mom,” he told me, smugly.

That he is.

At the crossover ceremony, they have a small symbolic bridge. It’s a little wobbly, and some of the boys stepped gingerly to keep their balance. Not Fritz. I think only one foot actually touched the bridge as he skipped over it. He’s ready to take on the world. The Boy Scout world, at least.

But I am left recalling how much I cried when he cut his first tooth: “He’ll never have that gummy smile again!” I want him to grow up. I want him to enjoy his life. Naturally, if he were 11 and still had his gummy grin, I would be upset. But the joy I have in watching him grow is tinged with a sense of loss.

These are one-way bridges, and I’m left on the other side.

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