It was especially tough to see this summer end. Not because we enjoyed better-than- average weather, or took two wonderful family trips, using passports for both (a first!) or because we spent a lot of time with our family and friends who continually make our lives richer. No. This year marks my older son’s last year of high school. The last year he’ll wake up in his bed, eat breakfast at my table, say goodbye in the morning where I’ll wish him a good day and wait for him to come home. Or see his hockey games or watch him perform during the half time shows on football fields, or attend his concerts. His last year before leaving for college, altering our family dynamic forever.
I am not the only parent of a high school senior. I know that. My sentiments aren’t my own. They’re shared by parents of seniors everywhere. But he is my son. My pride. My heart, who walks out the door every single day, and makes me smile when he walks back in.
This year will be a year of lasts, full of bittersweet endings, emotional moments (for me) and exciting plans (for him).
Thirty years ago, 1986, I graduated high school. I forged ahead full speed, shrugging out of my gown, tossing my tassled cap, seeing only my future, my friends, my summer job. I ran to college, not giving any thought whatsoever to how fast I’d grown and how my own mother must have been feeling what I’m feeling this week.
This month, I will be attending my high school reunion. While my child embarks on his final year, I will be rekindling my own memories. He’ll be doing his Social Studies homework while I will be catching up with classmates who sat next to me in my Social Studies classes.
I will enjoy one night with the people who spent every day with me during my formative years, who were in my life before it became laden with responsibility and stress and commitment. When the future was so bright, we had to wear shades. I will embrace lost friends who got away simply because life got too busy, the people who knew me before I knew myself, who knew me when I was young, inexperienced, a dreamer.
Then, I will put down my empty glass, dry my laughing tears. and bid so long to these old friends. I’ll return to my 48-year-old life (I cannot be 48), to stand by my son as he gets ready to embark on his future, to make his own way in the world. I’ll try like hell to remember who I was at seventeen, how I felt, and let him go.