By: Tanya Dodd-Hise
The other day, maybe two weeks ago at most, I get a phone call from the oldest boy (the 20-year-old). When I answer the phone with my sing-songie “Hellooo-ooo-oooo,” he laughs and says, “Hey Mom! I’ve got something to tell you!”
Picture it, if you will. Me, standing at the kitchen counter, and my free hand immediately goes to the edge and grasps it. Oh dear God, he’s got something to tell me. They’re pregnant. Oh God. No, not that. Too young. But even more importantly, I am too young to be a grandma – a grandma with an almost four-month-old baby! OK, breathe.
I say, with a big ole question mark in my voice, “Oh yeah? What’s that?” Stay calm Mom, stay calm. He answers, “Um, my orders have changed, and I am shipping out for basic training on March 1st instead of June 4th.” Oh no! Oh wait. Do what? Tell me that again so that I am sure that you’re not saying that you’re pregnant. But wait again. You’re leaving for the Navy in, what, a few weeks rather than months? Oh. Oh wow. Okay. I think I’m okay with that.
So I get off the phone and relay the info, what little I got, to Erikka. I say that I would like for us to have dinner with him and his wife before he leaves, and maybe invite her mom, his dad, and our parents. Shortly after that I get a phone call from his dad. He says, “Did you get a phone call from our oldest son?” I laugh and said, “Yeah, and he scared the crap out of me by the way he started out.” Then HE laughed and said, “Oh he must have told you the same thing he told me – ‘Dad, I have something to tell you.’ My first thought was, ‘When is she due?’” We had a good laugh over that, and were soon discussing plans for a dinner for them about a week or two before he was due to leave.
Somehow, over the course of a few days, the plan changed and morphed from a dinner with family, to a dinner with family and friends, to a Sunday afternoon luncheon at a rented space with family and lots of friends. My wonderful and lovely wife, and his amazing bonus mom, is a party planner extraordinaire, and was able to throw together quite the soiree in about a week’s time. We catered a fantastic Mexican food lunch, had a few people bring a few things, and then it was done! Everyone was so helpful and cooperative, including my mom (wow!), Erikka’s parents, the boys’ dad and other stepmom, and my daughter-in-law’s mother. When the time came for guests to start arriving, I sat back with a sleeping baby on my lap and watched as our friends, family, and their friends arrived with so much love, hugs, and support for my boy and his wife. It brought tears to my eyes to see so many people taking time out of their Sunday to come and do this. At one point, while everyone was eating, I got teary-eyed as I looked at the “kid table,” and wondered where all the time had gone. At that table sat six young adults, ages 16-22 years old now, and as I looked at them, I remembered them sitting around a table at some church youth group event, only they were little and in elementary and middle school. These “kids” have known each other since they were young, and now mine is married to one of these girls that I watched grow into a beautiful woman – now wife. Another of the girls is also married and a Navy wife as well. Another is in college and a live-in nanny. Her brother is the youngest of the group here, and he is now a successful sports jock in high school – I remember when he was in kindergarten! And still another is currently trying his hand with acting! Where did the time go?
So if you think about it, for the next couple of months, please keep my oldest boy in your thoughts. His wife will stay behind and live with her mom, and we will make sure that she doesn’t get lonely or sad. And soon? We’ll be planning our trip to Chicago for his graduation!