I took my oldest son to his new high school to sign up for classes. Even typing the words doesn’t make it seem real. The baby boy that had the hiccups in my belly for what seemed like 9 straight months. The toddler who never stopped moving except to sleep which he only did at night. The preschooler who cried and cried the first day I took him to preschool and made my heart ache until I picked him up and found out he had been fine as soon as I left. The grade-schooler whose teachers described him as a leader in class but who came home and only talked about gym and lunch. And most recently the middle school student who has grown into a man-child who is always hungry, and is funny, and athletic, and kind. This child of mine is going to high school.
Time is a funny thing. It’s steady, we can measure it and use it as a tool to measure by, and yet I can’t seem to grasp it. I can’t understand how each day continues to have 24 hours and how the number of days in a year has remained the same, but yet it seems like my life has been on fast forward. Because in my mind, in my idea of time, I’d still be holding my baby in my arms and rocking him to sleep, not standing on my tip toes to kiss his peach fuzzy, sun-tanned cheek.
I know that I only have 4 years left. Four years with him sleeping in my house, four years of sitting at the table with him on a regular basis, and four years of getting to peek in his room to say good night. I know I’m being selfish, but four years doesn’t seem like nearly enough, but yet it’s all I want for him. Because as much as I don’t want to let go, I also don’t want to hold him back. I want him to want to leave home in four years. I want him to know that he can, to be strong enough to leave, to be confident and independent enough to go. And when that time comes, I hope I am strong enough and confident enough and independent enough to let him.
In the mean time, or rather, the present time, I want to be just that – present. I’ll concentrate on being there while he experiences high school and friendships and sports and learning to drive and learning about life. I’ll work at being that person in his life to help him if he needs it, guide him with any bit of wisdom I can muster, and just enjoy him in all his adolescent glory. I’ve been warned that the high school years go faster than any prior time in your child’s life, but I’m not going to think about that. Time is a constant, after all. You can measure it, and measure by it.
So, we will turn another page in the calendar next week and I’ll watch my baby boy get on the bus to go to high school and the tears streaming down my face as I write this tell me I’ll be crying then too. I know he will do great and I can’t wait to see him experience the “glory days” guys my age still reminisce about. And though I’m going to cry, and my heart will ache, just like my preschooler once upon a time, I’ll be fine by the time he comes home. . . and I’ll be ready to hear all about gym and lunch.