Between my son and his older sister, I have lived my life primarily as a parent for almost twenty years.
All About the Kids
My focus, energy and time all centered around my children. I have watched them grow and change into the almost full adults that they are today. It has been painstaking, incredibly difficult and the most joyful experience of my life. Now as I witness my youngest begin his senior year of high school, the emotions are bittersweet. I am so amazed by the articulate and responsible young man chatting with me about college applications and future plans.
Wasn’t it just a year ago that all I got were annoyed glances and grunts when I asked how school was going? He has grown taller in height and deeper in spirit. Life experience has ignited well thought out opinions and concerns for the world but is still mostly overshadowed by the desire to retreat to his room to game with friends or go hang out at the gym. He is at that between space where childhood and adulthood intersect.
Enjoy Every Last
RELATED TOPIC: Enjoying Your Lasts
It’s thrilling, scary and at times reduces me to a puddle of tears realizing that I’m one year away from an empty nest. Do any of us really know how to navigate this year of lasts? All I know for sure is that I am going to be present and soak it all in. The dishes can wait! It sounds trite, but this mama is truly here for all the lasts, even the mundane and annoying ones.
The last first day of school photo.
Last back to school night.
Maybe the last time he will wake up in our home on his birthday.
The last permission slips to sign
The last debate to attend.
The last rush to buy snacks for advisory because he forgot to tell me.
The last nag about cleaning rooms and taking out the trash.
Soon he will be a college student and making his own way through the world. Sign his own waivers and have his own trash to take out. I realize new traditions will take hold complete with new memories and future special times to be had, but I want to savor this mommy life as I have known it until the very last.
A New World
Senior year is full of milestones and big emotions. I relish the opportunity to help my son navigate the college admission process and make his favorite sandwich when he’s feeling overwhelmed. I will force spontaneous walks around the neighborhood or do an annoying 90s lip sync to break the tension when he doesn’t even know he needs a breather. I will hug him each day, tell him how much I love him and repeat time and again how much I believe in his ability to shine through this pivotal time. He started high school in his room behind a computer screen and none of us knew how these kids would recover from that, but they are resilient and ready. Eager to take on a world that hasn’t always shown our seniors its softer side. The Class of 2024 is aware, passionate and appreciative of life. They learned far too young that life is fleeting. The knowledge that nothing is guaranteed has cracked the world open in a way it wasn’t for many of us. These kids have the same fear, hopes and expectations for their future, but it is lined with a grit and determination that would not exist without hardship. Although none of us wished a difficult start to high school for our kids, we have watched them learn how to pull one another up from dark places and appreciate basic things like attending school, being healthy and hugging the ones you love. The world has changed, and the new world is them.
A Beautiful Place
It may be senior year and a litany of lasts, but I have high hopes that the struggles many have endured in their young lives have produced energetic, life-embracing change makers. I witness it in my own children. Whether our seniors choose college or get to work right after high school, I see their vision for the future, and it is a beautiful place indeed.