So it’s graduation season. Kiddos are donning caps and gowns all the way from preschool to collegiate and doctoral levels. This is on my mind because my oldest is a senior in high school. I’ve been warned about the gamut of emotions I’ll feel. How I will long for his last day of first grade to replace his final day of twelfth grade. But I gotta tell you, I’m just not there.
I have watched the kindergarten videos. I have pulled out the report cards from second grade accompanied with loving notes from the teacher about my child. I’ve stumbled across forgotten baby pics and 15-year-old Mother’s Day cards in my quest to create the myriad senior salutes they have these days. And not one of these photographs, notes, or pieces of children’s artwork have moved me. What is wrong with me, you may ask? I think I know.
There is a poem that makes it’s way around cyberspace this time of year. It talks about all the “lasts” that you do with your child. It’s a heart tugger for sure. The parts that get me:
– One day you will carry them on your hip, then set them down, and never pick them up that way again.
– They will hold your hand to cross the road. Then never reach for it again.
– They will one day run to you with arms raised, for the very last time.
That’s sweet and all. I’ll admit that I’ve teared up reading it when I’ve been in the right frame of mind. But right now, I’m just ready to move this 6-foot-1, food-devouring, sock-on-the-floor-leaving, smelly man-child out of my house and into his future. In fact, I have a few of my own “lasts”:
From the moment your child hits puberty, things will never be the same. You might long for the days when walking into his room didn’t require a gas mask, but those days are gone. And with them, his desire to listen to anything you say.
This is the last time of calls from the high school telling you your angel left campus without permission. And on his way out of the parking lot, performed a perfect Dukes of Hazzard spinout except it’s a crowded school lot instead of the country, so he clipped someone’s bumper before taking out a light pole.
These are the last days of a bedroom occupied not with Legos and Hot Wheels, but with every piece of flatware you own along with an impressive assortment of bowls and cups with solidified milk clinging to the sides. But remember, these days won’t last forever.
One day, you will log into iTunes and not see $107 worth of charges for an NCAA Basketball app or an array of NC-17 songs. One day, you will not see your 18-year-old hit a golf ball into the window of your neighbor down the street. One day, you will not ask him to empty the dishwasher and then find measuring cups where the skillet goes.
There will be a day. A glorious last day. When he will pack up every hardened pair of underwear, every moldy towel, and every empty can of deodorant that he thinks still works effectively, but he’s wrong, and he will leave. He will walk out the door and that will be the last time you hear his car — that screeches at an intense decibel level every time he starts it — leave the driveway. Except it won’t.
Don’t even get comfortable with the idea of not doing laundry or heating up pizza rolls for that creature. Leaving for good is the last thing on his mind.
So forgive me if I’m not melancholy or nostalgic. He is prepared. He know’s how to forage for food and utensils. He knows how to pack and is aware that there are tools out there for personal hygiene. And I’m pretty sure he knows the way home. But hopefully never for the last time.