My child is now an adult (perhaps only in the eyes of the law,) and Sunday he walked across the podium and received his diploma, noting his school career has officially come to an end, college notwithstanding.
He is the very last little chick in the proverbial family nest. For the most part, he’s been particularly easy and effortless from a parenting perspective.
Over the past few weeks, I have continually read (via my Facebook feed) a common parental lament, “Today is little Mikey’s last day of Kindergarten – or Daisy’s last day of Junior High – or, Look who’s going to be a Senior! Oh, where does the time go?”
Many parents ponder the same thing – Where does the time go? But not me. I don’t ponder. I know where the time goes.
From the time your child enters their very first Kindergarten classroom to the point they walk across the grand stage and are handed a diploma, time (read=YOUR TIME) goes into this:
- The packing and making of roughly 2500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
- Attending Orientations, Open Houses, Back to School Nights, and Parent/Teacher conferences
- Suffering through untold number of practices for various sports – in all types of weather
- Coaching or volunteering to be “team parent” for sports beginning with acronyms like “Pee-Wee,” “Mighty Mights,” and “Tadpoles”
- Supporting several dozen fundraisers by selling tins of popcorn, kettle corn, boxes of cookies, candy bars, magazines and wrapping paper
- Referring numerous sibling struggles
- Carpooling, when calculated would take you to the moon and back. 10 times.
- Answering the question 6570 times, “Mom, what’s for dinner?”
In the closing high school days, I asked Sexy Hubby, “What will you/do you miss the most?” His answers pulled at my heart-strings. He said, “I miss the warm hugs from little kids. And I miss when my kids looked at me like I knew everything. Now, they think they know everything.”
I must admit, the past 6 weeks have proved to be very challenging (there were a few hiccups in an otherwise “perfect” high school career) and I was ready for high school to be over.
I complained. I argued with my son on a near daily basis. It was mentally exhausting.
Then comes Sunday – G Day – the day in which we hold as the pinnacle for the first 18 years of our child’s life. Graduation Day. A day that marks the passage from childhood to adulthood. A day that is 18- years in the making.
I made it through with flying colors. I was proud, and happy and relieved. Me – the person who cries at the thought of crying, held strong. In fact, the only time I even felt slightly misty was when I watched my mom hug the graduate with tears in her eyes. I looked away. I don’t need a break-down moment after making it this far without a hint of a tear. I could do this!
Then, after saying goodbye to family who travelled to Montana for the ceremonious weekend, after the balloons deflated, after the house returned to normal, I found myself alone. And incredibly sad.
Truth be told, I spent nearly all of the first post-graduation-guests-are-gone morning solidly in tears.
I cried openly, pondering this thought, “It’s OVER, really over. Done. No more kids in school. And as of August 21, no more kids in the house.”
More melancholy feelings washed over me. I found myself wondering for the first time, “Where does the time go?” and “How can it really be over?”
In closing, the best answer I have to the question, “Where does the time go?” is this – time goes into the tears.
Tears of joy.
Tears of pride.
Tears of anguish.
But tears, nonetheless.
Editor’s Notes: This blog post acts as my final regular entry with Montana Parent Magazine. I made the decision a few months ago that when my son graduated, I would step down from my regular postings, opening time in my schedule to discover “what lies ahead.”
I want to personally thank Cora , Shaunescy and Leah and their team of “extreme-moms” for their unwavering support of my ramblings over the years. I was proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these incredibly dynamic and strong women. I will miss you all. Thank you from the bottom of my humbled heart.