I can focus on the lasts, and the loss, or I can face forward and focus on the future.
I once read that, “You never know when it’s the last…time rocking a little one sleep or washing a child’s hair. But by the time you arrive at grade twelve and senior year, the lasts really start to stack together. From the last first day of high school to the last football game and the last senior photos, it is a grueling march of one last event to the next.
We face the last prom, the last lunch packed and the last day of class followed by that climax of graduation. I’ve become a bit obsessed with looking back at photos from the time before my son was in school every day and got to stay home with me. I remember that season with such sweetness. Our world was small and contained and known.
Now the world is wide open to my senior-son.
It’s a success story when he no longer needs me to navigate his way or even to make a meal. His independence is my job — review and statement of “well done.” Although I’ll always be a part of his life, he is now forever independent, which is a bittersweet victory. I’m so grateful for the gift it has been to raise him for 18 years. No privilege has been as rewarding as having a front row seat to his growth.
Lasts are hard. But firsts are exciting and fresh; it’s the perspective that my guy is experiencing as his life moves forward.
My senior-son cannot wait to take his first trip without a parent or chaperone. He’s excited about the college dorm five hours from home and the world that will expand just for him. He’s dreaming about a future with all the optimism of unburdened youth. It’s a perspective that I want to share.
Yes, I’m sad about the things that are changing and I miss the seasons we’ve shared together. And yet I have to remember that graduation isn’t the end of our relationship. It’s fun to be able to talk about anything and everything together. It’s rewarding to meet the friends and significant other that he brings to our home. How gratifying to see him embrace many of the values we sought to instill!
In our blended family, I have stepdaughters who have given me a front-row seat to the way things shift and move into new seasons. I’ve watched my husband struggle with missing his girls, then find new footing as their relationship deepens into maturity. The love and respect for him is even greater than it was when they lived under our roof. The adult relationship is unique and special.