In two weeks, my youngest stepson is graduating from high school. I feel Jurassic. This is the kid that was 9 when his dad and I married. I amused myself with the idea of people exclaiming, “You can’t possibly have a 9-year-old!” The truth was, I could easily have had a 9-year-old at that time; and a 12-year-old. Which is good, because that’s what I got. Full time 24×7 motherhood to a couple of boys who had little recent experience living with a woman. Especially a demanding, impatient woman with high expectations and a zero tolerance policy.

Poor things. I think we all suffered culture shock, and I’m not sure we ever got over it. But somehow we all muddled through. His older brother, Derek, is at Missouri, finishing his sophomore year. That brilliant “only for special occasions” brain is finally seeing daylight. He’s going to knock their socks off.

Austin thinks he’ll stick around next year and attend community college to get some basics completed. His father and I are not complaining. I never imagined myself suffering from empty-nest syndrome. Frankly, I’m surprised I haven’t been counting the days in anticipation of a house that has no dishes in the sink, no cabinet doors left open, and my sodas still in the fridge when I want one.

Instead, I remember those little boys on the wedding day in their tuxes. Their dad’s best men. I remember how Austin turned green and nearly fainted during the ceremony. (I TOLD him not to lock his knees.) I think about the times I forced them to watch old movies with me, or listen to my running commentary during the Academy Awards. School concerts and sporting events. Meetings with principals (too many) and teachers (way too many). Then there were the groundings, celebratory dinners and funerals.

It’s been a busy 8 years. So busy, in fact, I probably haven’t told them I think they’re amazing.

Best men, indeed.

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