Life

Marking the Beginning of the End

I have been trying to write this post all day.

But the more I thought about it, the more I simply couldn’t write it.

So … I’m going to write this out and I apologize if it doesn’t make any sense because it really doesn’t make a lot of sense in my head.

It’s about the first day of school.

*yawn* I know. You’ve read a ton of them in the past few days – I get it. I also get that we all pretty much say the same thing …

“I can’t believe my baby is starting school!”

“It doesn’t seem possible!”

“I think it’s harder on me than on them!”

“It nearly broke my heart to leave little Johnny behind today.”

*sigh*

I know.

And I certainly don’t want to bore you with yet ANOTHER “Oh my gosh! My kids are in HIGH SCHOOL … I’m not old enough to BE the mom of high schoolers!!”

I mean, how many ways can a person express that sentiment? How many times do we need to read about how everyone’s kids are growing up before we want to skewer our eyeballs?

(Ew, Karen).

I mean. They’re kids. They grow up. It’s what they’re supposed to do.

Duh.

And yet … this year is different.

No, really. My oldest son, the left part of my heart (my youngest son has the right side, just so we’re fair here), is a senior.

As in … THIS IS HIS LAST YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL.

As in … WE’VE REACHED THE 13TH YEAR OF SCHOOL AND OH MY LORD, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE??

Seriously. I’m a little freaked out about this. Because you know how it is, you talk about them graduating “one of these days.” It’ll happen … but not for a looooooong time.

Good gravy friends, that day has arrived for us!!!

This is it. The last year, the final walk down that boyhood hallway and the door to manhood? LOOMING just beyond that shadow over yonder.

I don’t know who is more nervous about this, me or Dude.

I find myself planning, thinking, living in the future. For me, this senior year is already winding down and we’re looking down the graduation barrel, I see his diploma balled up at the bottom, just ready to shoot out at any moment.

And then what …? Where do we go from here? What is he going to do? Have we adequately prepared him for the big bad world? Will he grab his future by the short and curlies, or will we have to push him off the edge? He won’t be my baby, my firstborn, my adorble preemie who charmed all of the NICU nurses …

HE’LL BE LEGAL. He’ll be a MAN.

Oh Lord, I need a paper bag, I”m starting to hyperventilate.

I see him. I mean I’m really noticing how he’s changing, becoming more decisive, more confident – he likes to point out the flaws in my arguments, and he’s usually right. I’ve learned to let him go, sort of. I’ve given him space, but he is demanding more.

As it should be.

I saw a status on Facebook today from a woman I used to work with – believe it or not, we had our babies on the exact same day, so her daughter is exactly Dude’s age – and of course, this is her senior year, too. She said:

Time flies whether you are having fun or not…today is the first day of the daughter’s senior year of high school…reminds me of that first day of kindergarten.

And I couldn’t agree more. We’ve reached yet another milestone – we have molded him, taught him, loved him, disciplined him, encouraged him, and watched him become his own person. We have done all we can do with him – his personality is cemented, he is who he is.

Though Dude wasn’t exactly excited about going to school this morning (he’s the guy on the left – I don’t know why Jazz looks stoned in this picture – he wasn’t, I assure you), I sensed a … difference in him. A determination, I think. He is resigned to the fact that this is it, after May 17th, he’ll be forced to face new challenges, he will be responsible for himself. Though we have no intention of severing our parental ties with the boy, he will be old enough to start making his own decisions concerning his own life.

He will be shoved out onto the stage, the curtain will go up and he will be staring reality in the face – Kevin and I will be watching from the wings with bated breath to see how he reacts.

Well, that was a bit dramatic, don’t you think? (Get it? Stage … drama?)

I told you this probably wouldn’t make sense.

I guess I’m just trying to explain how it feels to have a child on the verge of graduating, on the verge of beginning a new life, without me. Or at least, not decided by me. It’s both weird and exciting at the same time.

I wouldn’t dream of holding him back, believe me, but letting go of him is SO much harder than I thought it would be.

Truly.

At any rate … one day at a time. He’s not quite ready to don that cap and gown yet.

The first day of school went well. The school started a new system and they had some glitches, so they had me post a notice on the website stating that the kids needed to pick up their revised schedules first thing this morning, as in, the first day of school.

The boys said it was pretty chaotic for a while. I wasn’t too worried, I had actually contacted their counselor and she had cleared up their scheduling problems, but still, I’m sure it was a little disconcerting not really knowing where you were supposed to go right off the bat. Luckily, their schedules didn’t change at all and they both let me know that they are satisfied with their classes – of course, this is only the first day.

I plan on being pretty focused on Dude this year. In addition to making sure he retakes the ACT test (and hopefully improves his score), we’ll be discussing whether he wants to go to OTC (a technical college that offers core classes for cheaper than a university as well as offers Associates Degrees in specialized fields – if they offer a field Dude would like to pursue), or if it would be a better plan to enroll him at Missouri State. I still need to get his senior pictures taken care of (mental note: CALL TOMORROW, KAREN), which shouldn’t be that big of deal because he’s already flat out told me that he won’t do the traditional posing, changing clothes sort of session, but he will sit and take some head shots – so, I guess I’ll have to be happy with that option.

In addition, I will be shopping for graduation announcements as well as planning his graduation party (I would love to find someone who does fancy cakes, think Cake Boss).

Though I really want him to focus and do well this last year of high school, I also want him to have fun. Senior year is SUPPOSED to be fun, right??

So … this marks the beginning of the end of an era for Dude. I know he doesn’t fully appreciate it now, or maybe even feel like he’s ready to cross over into adulthood, but ready or not, buddy, here we go.

2 thoughts on “Marking the Beginning of the End”

  1. My daughter started kinder week before last and I didn’t freak out, not like I did last year with preschool, but I did get wistful. It’s like the more independent she becomes, the more she learns, the less I will be needed.

    I still remember the NICU days as well and how tiny she was. How much she depended on me. Now I get a lot of “I can do it myself!”.

    Time marches on. You either march along in time with the band or sit in the bleachers and wonder what you’re missing.

  2. Karen, I know how you feel. Sydney, my little princess, started kindergarten last week (can you believe it)! We have been noticing changes in her, like going off on her own to play and just be alone.

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