My Dearest Boy,
Senior year. Wow. I can hardly believe it’s here already. Or maybe it feels like it took forever. Or maybe both. It’s an exciting time full of promise for the future. The culmination of all the years of elementary, junior high, and high school. The finale for all the evenings spent sitting at the table working on homework (where we may or may not have both been ready to pull out our hair). So many school programs, concerts, and parties over the years. And it’s nearly over.
We’ve reached the beginning of the end. It’s a downhill ride from here; it’s going to fly by.
I’m not ready for this.
I mean, I’ve been preparing you for this your entire life. Literally since your birth my entire job has been helping you to stand on your own two feet so you can leave the nest and be on your own some day. Every single thing I’ve taught you has been in preparation to let you go and now all I want to do is hold on.
Each year as you’ve gone off to your first day of school, I’ve been happy and excited for you. It’s marked an achievement, a milestone, an opportunity for growth and learning. Through ups and downs with new schools and new classmates, I’ve been your cheerleader telling you how much I believe in you and that you’re ready for the challenges. But this year is different because I see where this is headed and I know just how quickly it will happen.
I’m not ready to send you out for your last hurrah because that means it won’t be long and you’ll be leaving this nest to do all the things I’ve been getting you ready to do. You’ll be taking on the world without me there to guide you, to teach you, to push you, and cheer for you.
The realization has set in: while you’re out in the world learning and growing and being independent, you won’t be here in this house with me. When you’re out there, you won’t be here.
I’m not ready to think about not having you here to kiss your head at night, to joke with you as we clean up the kitchen together, to listen to you goofing around with your sister. I’m not ready to see your empty chair during dinner each evening and see your bed without you in it each night.
As you walk out the door, all I see is my little boy. It feels like some kind of cruel trick. All these years I’ve been excited for each new age and stage watching you blossom into a pretty fantastic young man, but now–now that you’re on the edge of adulthood and independence–all I can see is my chubby-cheeked three year old with a huge smile, my wiggly seven year old bursting with energy, my ten year old obsessed with all things purple. I see my little boy who is somehow a young man standing in front of me, walking out the door for his last first day.
I’m not sure when this all happened–this growing up thing. It feels like this moment snuck up on me … over the last seventeen years. I realize that sounds crazy but I think I’ve been so engrossed in preparing you for this that I didn’t see it coming. I’ve been so busy getting you ready that I forgot to do the same for myself.
After all this prepping, teaching, and training, I’m not ready for this last first day. Maybe I’ll be ready for the last second day of school. Or the third.
I’m gonna need a minute … and a few tissues.