​We rented The Brothers last night. What a great movie. I just shook my head at those four young men. I could see my own four brothers in them and better still, I saw my son and his three closest friends as well. Then I got very melancholy — how fast he is growing up. How fast they are all growing up.

I got snapped out of my introspective mood by this deep voice and towering figure. It was my baby boy — my son — my young man. He bent down and kissed me good night. He said, "Good night, Mama. I'm beat. I love you."

He looked at the TV and asked, "Do you like the movie?"

"Yes," I replied.

"I told you it was awesome."

As he walked away, I knew in my heart that no matter how big he got, he'd always be my baby. Then out comes the eldest, who just bleached her hair and added bright green bangs.

"Okay, Mom, how does this look? Is it too bright? I'm going light so I can wash the green out before school. I'm wearing pigtails tonight. Is it OK? (Barely taking a breath between questions). Then all 5'10" of her pops off and assures me she won't be late because she knows she has to be in the office at 9 this morning (she is temping for me). A kiss and an "I love you."

As she dances off I finally get to shout, "Your hair looks cute!" Off she goes.

Then I hear the music upstairs get louder as my baby emerges from her room. Korn blasting in the background, Katie comes down for her medicine and a good-night kiss. She tells me she's locked in mortal combat in an on-line game of chess. Her room is painted red and black and on her bed is a Power Puff Girls quilt, matching pillows and her Buttercup doll — all under her Korn poster and Star Wars figures.

God bless her — she has one foot in "Teen Age World" and the other in "Lil' Girl Land."

Another round of good-nights and I love you's, which only leave me wondering — Where did the time go? Seems like yesterday I was hoping — praying — that they'd become more independent. Now I find my fingers aching as I force myself to let go more every year.

Recent events have made me pause more than usual and just take them in.

*     *     *

The author: chach was born in NJ, and joined the Marines in 1979 after attending Norwich University for two years. She was an MP, then requested transfer to Yuma after some . . . events. :-) Had her first child while in the Corps. Was the first female coach of all-male basketball—made All-Marine. Got out in 1985, while expecting her son. Has three kids: Erin Alana, John Sullivan and Katie (Kat) O'Shea. Currently living in sin in NY state. :-P

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