I remember when my son was a tiny baby, and my friends and I would talk about what year he and their children would graduate from high school. That time seemed so far away, and we laughed at the thought of it. Now, we are here. The time has come for them to graduate.
Recently, my friends and I were sending messages back and forth on Facebook messenger. Three of the four of us had graduating seniors this year and all were our youngest children. They were sharing how difficult a time they were having, and I shared that I was not struggling. I shared that perhaps because of how COVID had changed school or because my daughter had already prepared me when she graduated or the fact that my son would be going to school close by, I had not been sad.
Well, today I just happened to pull out of my driveway and see the Jeep that we are selling. Our son has been driving that vehicle and soon, he will be driving another to college. Suddenly, as I am driving to work, I become tearful. Flashes of memories hit me. I was sitting outside his kindergarten classroom on the first day because I did not want to leave. Then, sitting in my car that whole day and crying until my neighbor came by. I swear that was just two years ago.
I also recalled his smiling face as we raced to the bus stop. We did that every morning during middle school, or we would shadow box until the bus came. Looking for and watching frogs in the ditch was also a fun past time until the bus came. He would look out the window and wave with that big smile of his.
Then the memory of graduating middle school. By then, I was in full on tears. How could it be time for him to end his days as a high school student? Today was his last day as a senior.
I will no longer have a child in school. No more emails or updates regarding sports, proms, dances, etc. I will no longer need to look at the school website to make sure that I did not miss something.
It’s hard to be the ones left behind they say. Well, I guess, I will be the one left behind now. I hope that I do this gracefully and not with sadness in my heart.
When I walk by his room and don’t see his usual mess of clothes, books, shoes and cereal bowls, I hope I don’t break down and cry.
I hope I don’t cry at the grocery store when my bill is half the price it used to be, and the milk jugs are no longer in the cart.
I hope I don’t cry ugly as he walks across the stage or the day that he drives away to college.
I will miss my boy very much, but the young man he has become is pretty awesome too. I will keep reminding myself of this until he is back home with all his dirty laundry, towing his friends home from college to fill my house back up with noise again. That will be the thought I use to get through this time when my heart feels sore, and a lump has grown in my throat.
To all you mothers of graduating kids, let’s help lift each other up and remind each other, it’s not the end, but the beginning of their next chapter.
Who knows, we might actually begin to adjust and enjoy the new chapter we are in too. Coffee anyone?
Congratulations to my son Zachary Palma, Senior 2021. You have worked hard and preserved through one of the hardest years in the history of seniors. I am proud of you!