It’s so quiet in this house. After a flurry of early morning activity, two sweet boys are off at their first day of school, and I am sitting on the couch with some jazz music in the background. It’s peaceful, and it’s sure nice to have control of my house again, but my mind is churning.
Our oldest started high school today. He had butterflies in his stomach as we approached the school. He’s so excited for the next four years, and we are for him, but I also feel sick inside. The feelings that I have for him mix with my own.
It’s so strange to watch your children grow. You see them go through phases and hit milestones that you’ve already gone through, and each one causes you to worry and/or feel excited for the child having his turn at things (and the added perspective of adulthood makes it worse, not better!) while also reflecting on yourself at that long-ago time (a perspective which your child isn’t aware of at all and could care less about.)
I never realized how bittersweet it would be to raise a child, how the mix of personal memories mingles with such a sharp sense of present and fading time. I sent a 14-year old off this morning, but I saw a little boy in a superhero pj set with a removable velcro cape wake up on the first day of kindergarten. I took a picture on the couch (iPhone in hand, texting!), but I remembered a proud boy posing out by the big tree in the front yard, wearing khaki uniform shorts that I searched everywhere for with elastic instead of buttons to make going to the bathroom easy on little fingers.
Oh how it hurts, and oh how I am scared of high school. High school is brutal. Who would go back and relive those years? Certainly not me. And in my case, just like my son’s, I started high school after only one year with my new classmates. I still felt like an outsider, much like he does, and that’s not a great feeling in a world that’s so new and uncomfortable.
I worry, of course, about the academics too. The clock starts clicking now on g.p.a.. Will French 3 kick his ass? Why did they have to schedule his Honors Biology class for the last period? Will he be able to manage it all? Oh, if I could just take it all over for him, I would (but who am I kidding? I don’t have the brain I used to and can barely remember to feed the dogs!)
I hope the next four years are some of the best of his life. No matter what, I am continually amazed at what an incredible person he is becoming and what an inherently beautiful soul he has. He is funny, caring and kind. He is equal parts flaky and yet maturing. I think of how I changed in those high school years, and I can’t wait to watch him grow.
But however he gets through it, and however well it goes, the young man that emerges will still wear a hero cape, still have that hair sticking up in the back of his head, still be the child he was all along. The memories of that little boy are such a gift, no matter how painful it is for a mom to look back.
So he looks forward, and I flurry between looking back at him, looking toward his future, and doing the same with my own life, while trying to maintain a sense of appreciating the present. Thank goodness our younger son started 6th grade and his last year of elementary today…I don’t think I could handle it if he’d started a new school too! Thankfully, his district doesn’t begin middle school until 7th grade. I’ll consider it a personal favor from God to spare me the mental breakdown I feel I deserve.
An update on my half marathon training and details of my dramatic golf (yes, golf!) injury in my next post! Happy running!