We have the quietest kitchen timer in the world.  It came with the oven, but it just doesn’t go with our house at all.   It makes the softest, most unimposing little dinging sound you ever DID NOT HEAR.   Completely unacceptable in our  LARGE,  LOUD and CHAOTIC household.  Not to mentionI’m one of those people that needs to be hit over the head with a 2 x 4 if something is ready in the oven, or I am going to leave it in too long…

The other day I was standing in the kitchen helping our youngest son, Tommy, with a school project, when our older son, James slid a frozen pizza in the oven. He looked over at me and said,

Hey – will you keep an eye on my pizza while I jump in the shower?”

Of course!” I agreed.

20 minutes or so later he came blasting back in the kitchen and looked at me stunned, as I methodically glued Tommy’s English poem to his picture board, completely oblivious to the pizza blackening in the oven.

Mom! Do you not hear the timer going off for my pizza?”

I looked up surprised, and then gradually tuned in to the low-key, discreet chiming sound emanating from my oven. “That timer is far too submissive for this home!” I complained.  James actually nodded his head in agreement. Everyone around here knows we require more dominance and assertiveness in our warning sounds. We don’t respond to that sort’ve passive gentility.

As James put it,

Our timer calmly and politely suggests that one might, if one were so inclined, want to survey the status of one’s oven item…”

When I woke up this morning I realized the timer has gone off on my 4th child.  (I hear quiet gentle dinging…) It sounds like my  boy is done. He graduates today. We’ve had the date circled on the calendar for quite some time.

His school says he’s done

His coaches say he’s done

At 6′, 185 lbs, he certainly appears to be done

I’m ticking through the mental list of everything I thought we needed to do to raise a young boy,  from the very moment we first glimpsed a ‘boy part’ on the sonogram screen:

We played every sport that involved a boy and a ball, we endured scouting as long as possible, I taught him to waterski and then he “one-upped” me by wake boarding, we caught fireflies in mason jars. Every time a great song came on the radio, I drilled him to identify the band until he had quite an impressive catalog of ‘Classic Rock’ knowledge. I can still taste the marshmallows we roasted, remember the books we read, hear the slightest discernible lisp I couldn’t bear to correct and picture the exultant joy from a few game-winning free throws. I would’ve been arrested if DHS knew how much Sonic and Little Caesers we ate.

It seems like only yesterday he told us he had “3 huge goals for the year!” They were to:
-tie his shoes
-learn to whistle, and
-snap his fingers

He set about in little-man earnest to accomplish all three and he did. He set a few loftier goals later, and accomplished those as well.

So, as far as this leg of his journey goes – the part that began and ends under my watchful wing – I’m going to stick a fork in him, just to see if I agree with the gentle suggestion that he’s done, but he probably is…

However,  I did passive-aggressively manage to misprint an entire stack of his graduation announcements. They were, of course, supposed to say “2016” and I printed “2017” by accident. So, it’s entirely plausible, that if it’s just all too much, or too sad to endure today and I simply can’t bear the thought that my baby boy grew up so fast, I can just “put him back in” for another year and he can graduate next year.


Because, the more I think about it, I might actually prefer a timer that merely suggests when something might be ready. I reserve the right to have the final say.