Last night I foolishly thought that I could quickly and effortlessly create a blog page, link it to my Facebook page and successfully upload a new post. When I finally fell into bed at close to 3 AM I managed to forget two things that would prove important to remember about three hours later. AARP eligibility aside, it wasn’t that I forgot as much as I was trying hard not to remember.
Today was indeed a special day. Both of my children would be off to start their senior years at their respective schools. My eldest daughter would board a plane to rejoin her college classmates in Mobile, Alabama, while my son would return to claim his rightful place among the men at his Catholic high school.
When we decided to have children we agreed that a four-year difference in age would be perfect since they would not be in the same schools at the same time. Yeah, well that brilliant plan didn’t take into account that they would graduate from their programs jointly throughout their educational career.
So imagine my the look on my surprised retired butt when I am shaken awake and told, “Nico is leaving for school soon. He wants to know if you are going to take his first day of school picture.”
Aye. I felt drunk and completely confused. As I grabbed my camera and tiptoed around the pile of clothes that #1 daughter placed in the middle of the bedroom the night before in anticipation of getting help packing, I roll my eyes at the thought of getting it all into one suitcase and one carry-on.
And it hit me. Hard.
Both kids were on the brink of a life-changing year. One would have to decide whether or not graduate school is for her, and the other will choose a college. He, like his sister, will forever be changed by his choice, as we all are when we pick the place we will go to grow up.
Oh, I’m not sad that they are growing into wonderful adults. Truth really be told, I kind of like the notion of a very quiet house for at least a few hours a day.
I’m not worried about what they will do, or the decisions that they will make. I remember that my parents had little say as to where I would go to college. (Although they did try to bribe me with a car if I stayed in Southern California.) Of course, I went north and walked everywhere. Funny how my daughter chose to go south.
No, today’s melancholy was not about the changes happening in my life. Today it was simple. I simply want them to have every opportunity possible to be happy.
The summer was long, busy and full of tension for a variety of reasons. So to have my kids embark on the last year of their preparatory life with excitement, courage, open arms and the security of their own capability caused in me a sense of accomplishment and release. I am proud of my kids, and I am aware that their accomplishments are their own, although a product of our influence over the last couple decades.
Today I am sad because effectively, my job is almost over…at least as I know it.
I look at those of my friends that have smaller children and recall the feeling of rushing to pick up, drop off, feed, clothe, bathe, discipline and love them. I still feel the love I felt ten years ago, its just so much more mellow and all-encompassing.
I think that back then I was so involved in work, appearances, expectations, requirements and in general, trying to keep everyone happy, or at least not mad, that I forgot to just love them.
I’m not a great mom, I’m more of a suitable mom at best. Yet, our kids are awesome. How can that be?
These kids, like many, many others in the world, succeed despite their parent’s benevolent efforts to raise them. For that, I am grateful to God.
I hope that as I step out of their lives slowly, but surely, they remember that above all I love them and am proud of them for all they have accomplished on their own, despite the pitfalls of life scattered in front of them both by chance and by circumstance.
I hope that they have great and amazing senior years and that Happiness is the trophy they receive at year end.
Mostly, I hope I remember who graduates on what date…and that I plan accordingly.
Thanks for being my friends.