“Insanity is hereditary. You can catch it from your kids.”
― Erma Bombeck
|Thing 1 stares into the future|
I am ready for the end.
A few nights ago, a Band Mom sat next to me at the band banquet and bemoaned, "I am just so sad that this is the last year."
I looked over at her between bites of brownie, shrugged and said, "Let's get this OVER WITH. I am READY for it to be DONE."
She looked at me, slightly horrified and then laughed nervously. As if she knew I didn't really mean it. But here's the dirty secret: I am done. Finished. Party over. Let's move on.
OhMyGosh, I haven't taught him everything. I mean, he still will often wash his whites with his colors. I don't know if he'll ever get a job. I don't know if he can DO THIS.
Today Thing 1 entered his senior year of high school. I have not yet booked his senior pictures. We haven't finished touring colleges. He JUST took the SAT. I'm not quite sure if he's even INTERESTED in life beyond high school (nor, to be frank, is he actually interested in life at high school). His life as he knows it is morphing into something completely different.
And I'm ready.
I'm not ready.
I know it's not really...acceptable...to say that you're done with parenting. But I'm TIRED. See, I never really knew that I had to worry about homework, teacher notes, whether or not the guidance counselor even knows who my kid is or why everything has to be so HARD for a kid who doesn't fit into the mold. Actually, let me make that a little clearer: I don't know why everything has to be so hard for the PARENTS of a kid who doesn't fit into the mold.
But, God forgive me, there are times that I long desperately for that rule-follower kid (you've met them) who does all the homework and turns it in and inspires a smile on teacher faces. Sometimes, I am so tired of the everyday battle of just getting him to do the bare minimum.
I'm ready for 18. I'm ready for next steps. I'm ready for that little bird to fly out of the nest and test those wings that I've been helping him to strap on for the last 17 years. I'm thrilled about graduation. I'm ready to be a half-empty-nester.
I'm terrified he won't find his way. I'm overcome with worry about whether or not he'll shower or properly use his alarm clock or wash his socks. I'm worried that he'll be...lost. My paranoia often manifests itself with a vision of an unshaven, unkempt 42-year-old sitting on my couch playing video games and eating Cheetos.
I've never mourned the passing of time. I don't wish he was a squirming, pudgy little guy anymore. I don't miss breastfeeding and diaper-changing and waking up at 5 am to blearily load the Toy Story DVD in hopes of catching another half-hour of shuteye. I was not sorry to see elementary school go and I was absolutely thrilled to wave goodbye to middle school.
But I sometimes wish for those simpler times when he didn't question my judgment and when the consequences for actions weren't so...high. I hope that he doesn't regret not going to the junior prom. I hope he doesn't wish that he had signed up for yearbook staff/the school paper/insert name of club here. Did I encourage him enough? Was I supportive enough? Did I nag too much?
I swear that I did the best I could with the tools I had. I was as engaged as I possibly could be without inserting myself into every aspect of his life.
I let him have too much screen time. I am too emotional/inconsistent/crazy/uninvolved.
He's going to be absolutely fine with the next steps.
What if he fails?
He'll make this year work. He'll rise to the occasion and he'll get those college applications turned in and, finally, he did take the SAT. He will pass all of his courses this year.
What if he fails?
I'm so proud of who my son is. He is kind and caring and more than enough of all of those things that make character shine. He is so bright and so funny.
Will he be taken advantage of? Will this be enough? Can he find the motivation he needs? The hardness? The tenacity? Will he roll over and give up or does he have the strength to make a way in this hard, cold world?
He's a senior. He's at the edge of the nest. And he will learn to fly.
And the beginning...