Sentimental School Years
I have a son who is a senior in High School. Every year at the beginning of the school year they have a big celebration to open up the beginning of the school season called “The Big Do.”
We’ve gone every year since his freshman year.
It’s a chance for everyone to get together and start the year off in a good way. The weather’s usually nice and many kids and parents attend.
They cook up tons of hamburgers and chicken and set up tables and chairs on the front lawn.
There’s musical entertainment (probably the music department teachers)
…and the school clubs make up all kinds of yummy treats and ethnic meals to help make money for their clubs. I try to buy something from a few clubs to help them out. This year, I bought some refreshing lemonade from the “Students Against Prejudice” club.
It’s a family atmosphere and the younger brothers and sisters play around the pond that sits in the middle of the front lawn.
They have a dance afterwards for the school kids–the first one of the year. The school is the largest one in the state and has a very diverse population. I went to the same High School when I was his age. Back then, it was a Jr. High and a High School. They combined them years ago into just a High School.
It was a bittersweet event for me this year, knowing that this will be the last one I will be able to attend with my son. (My daughter usually goes with us, but she had her own event to attend at the college she goes to a few miles away. She also attended a different high school because of her area of study.) I didn’t allow myself to get too emotional about it, because we still have the rest of the year to get through before his graduation. I’ll save my tears for then.
And, who knows, maybe I won’t cry at all. I didn’t cry when my daughter graduated a couple of years ago. I was very proud, of course, and excited for her thinking about her future and her starting college. But it might be a little different with my son.
Why? Because I spent all these years getting my kids through grade school, middle school, and high school, and they’re coming to an end.
All through their school years, I’ve been preparing them to move directly on to college after high school. I spent some of their high school years taking them on to the nearby college campus for lunch and to just walk around any time my daughter had some small thing she had to do at the college for one of her high school classes. I thought it was a good way to expose them to college early on so they would want to go and to get them use to thinking it was just a natural progression after high school in continuing their education.
The first time we went, my son was still in middle school. I told them I went to this college myself and walked the very same sidewalk we were walking along, looking at all the artwork on campus. (I was an art major.)
Love that one! But this next one is my favorite…
Walking along this building with its huge pillars made my son become excited about going to college.
Those pillars are pretty impressive!
My daughter attends this very college now, and my son is planning on following her there next fall.
But through all this time that I have been preparing them to move on and eventually leave me and this home of ours that we have shared so many memories in, I forgot to prepare myself.
I mean, sure, I’ve thought about them moving out and growing up and starting to have lives of their own. I’ve thought about them dating and getting married eventually, getting jobs–real ones–and having kids of their own. But I didn’t really give that much thought to myself and what my life will be like without them here everyday. Not deep thought, anyway. Maybe because I don’t want to get sentimental and emotional to the point of becoming one of those moms that cries endlessly over the fact that her children are moving on. Because THEY’RE SUPPOSE TO MOVE ON! And my rational mind tells me this is how it’s suppose to be.
But my heart pulls at me and reminds me how much having them around me everyday means to me. And I could really go off into an emotional abyss right now about all the things we have done together and all the things we have been through as a family, basically, just the three of us (like the three musketeers, which is what I have always called us). But I just can’t go there yet. And I’m going to put off going there for as long as I can. And maybe by putting it off for as long as I can, I will somehow be able to become so busy through it all happening that I will forget to cry for myself because I will be too busy being happy and excited for my son graduating and moving on to college with his sister.
Until then, I’m going to enjoy all the school activities that my son wants to be a part of by chauffeuring him around to all his functions (he’s still only 16 because he skipped a grade ahead and he can’t drive till he’s 17–which he won’t be till near the end of this school year), and enjoy all those late night trips to the store to get supplies for this or that project that he waited till the last minute to remind me about, and enjoy all the treats he needs me to make for his club’s bake sale or fundraiser, and whatever else comes up this last year of his in high school. And I’m not going to complain. Instead, I’m just going to savor every rushed and hurried moment and every retelling of the day’s events and every lunch I make for him and all the other moments of this school year. I’m going to burn them into my mind so I never forget a single moment. Just like I tried to do with my daughter.
…and I’m going to take a million pictures!