By Gina Fenton of Extreme Mom
I’m not remotely prepared for my youngest son to graduate high school in a few weeks. I’ve been in emotional denial his entire senior year. Even though I’ve been there and done that—yes, even that—letting go is something I apparently suck at.
It feels that, just yesterday, my newborn baby boy was nuzzled into my bosom for the better part of his first month simply because he would not be put down. Seriously. He was like a new adorable appendage. The only sleep Mama Bear got was in the recliner holding him.
He stuck like velcro that entire first year and was thus affectionately nicknamed “Velcro Baby.”
Then I awakened one morning and POOF! My clingy baby had morphed into a toddler on a full-blown quest for autonomy – walking, talking and getting into mischief.
Shortly thereafter, at the tender age of four, my adventure seeking tyke began nursery school and never looked back. He was so proud to be in school. The cherry on top of this sweet milestone was the procession of miniature graduates parading across the stage while wearing white cardboard hats adorned with floppy powder blue yarn tassels. The moment was filled with mommy bliss.
Then I woke up the following morning and POOF! My preschooler was now in elementary school and had learned to ride a two-wheeler, bat a ball, tie his shoes, and open his own milk carton. There was great anticipation for special school events like Picture Day, the Spring Concert, Cub Scouts, and field trips.
These were happy, exciting, and special times.
The sun rose on what seemed like the very next day and POOF! This now pubescent boy was spreading his wings. He went to junior high dances, parties, and hung out at the skating rink. My man apprentice ditched his bike helmet in the shrubs because being cool trumped being safe. He wore name brand clothing and smelt of Axe body spray.
No more goodbye hugs, kisses, and holding hands in public.
Then I opened my eyes merely a week later and POOF! Somehow this rapidly growing boy was now in high school: earning his varsity letter in sports, getting a driver’s license, taking the SATs, applying to college, going to the prom, and landing his first part-time job.
The once little boy now towered over me. I could fit my shoes inside of his. I was constantly mistaking his voice for my husband’s. He had become a bottomless pit who could consume an entire box of cereal or pizza in a single sitting.
Then one morning before he drove himself to school, he said, “Mom, my senior picture is due for the yearbook on Monday.”
“No!” I thought, “You were just in kindergarten last Monday! How can this be happening?”
Just a few days later it seemed and POOF! He was officially a senior. The final hurrah. Senior Recognition Night, the final Homecoming activities, the class trip, and the Senior Ball—the last dance of his high school career. Graduation announcements and party invitations started rolling in.
“Mom, tomorrow is the last day to get measured for my cap and gown. I need to pay my deposit.”
“No!” I thought, “You were just in first grade last Tuesday. How can this be happening?”
A couple weeks later, the senior yearbook materialized on the kitchen table.
When his name is called, he will stroll across the stage – hand extended to proudly accept his diploma—and a sweet era will drift into a cloud of the coveted past tense. Childhood will cease to exist.
It feels that he was just born last Thursday – a healthy 7 pound and 9 ounce baby boy. How can it be that his first cry was 18 years ago?
I know my son is ready to embark on this exciting new journey. He is ambitious, bright and virtuous. He will do great and I am so proud. I bubble with both happiness and sadness. I know now that it is time.
Time to let go.
Gina Fenton is an obstetrical RN, blogger, wife, mom of four and self-appointed advocate for special needs and mental health. She writes the over-the-top humor blog Extreme Mom for sanity preservation and her own entertainment. Gina lives in Upstate N.Y. with her family, two dogs and ThatGoddamnedCat. Her adventurous everyday tales can be found on Extrememom.net. Her writing has been featured on popular sites like Mamapedia, Bonbon Break, BlogHer, Project Underblog and Mamalode.