It's not as if I didn't know this was coming. I mean…he's been a Senior for what…9 months now? So why am I caught so thoroughly off-guard and so entirely unprepared?
My baby walks across the platform tonight to receive his high school diploma. This is a good thing. Right? Right. Of course it is. He's ready. He's ready to move forward to the next stages of his life. I suppose he's more prepared than I.
I find myself in a silly, Emotional Mom state of mind today.
I can't help but remember. The matchbox car ramp he built off of the roof of the house and very proudly demonstrated for me. His handwritten translation of The Hobbit…in elvish. The hours we spent building fantasy worlds with Legos. The fire he started in his room while experimenting. The countless hours watching him develop self-control and strength of character on the wrestling mat. The little baby who would wake and coo happily in his bed until I came to get him. The many "inventions" and "creations" he built from his own imagination and with scarce resources. His declarations of intent to protect me and always be there for me…those started early and have never stopped. The dog. That DAMN DOG. I've wept like a fool today over sending his dog away when he was 10. Seriously. Rationale and logic have entirely escaped me.
I've been here before with my eldest. It's different this time. That was "traumatic" because it was new and he was my first to leave home. But this time is new too. The landscape of our lives has changed completely this past year, and I have not been physically present in Eric's life on a daily basis. I had to ask if there was a before or after celebration in which I could partake because I didn't know...like an outsider inserting myself into a very important day in his life. It's not that our relationship is distant or cold. God knows this year has been filled with genuine, open conversations…heart-revealing, life-altering, come-to-Jesus conversations that I cherish more than life itself. But I'm not there, you know?
Trust me. I hear other's voices in my head…lecturing, accusing:
You made your bed, now lie in it.
Suck it up, Buttercup.
What did you EXPECT?
This isn't about you…etc., etc., etc.
All of those quips contain an element of truth. But acknowledging the choices that led to this reality doesn't remove the emotions. In fact, it heightens them. But here we are.
The bottom line is: my son has done well. He is growing and maturing into a fine young man. He might bristle at that assertion because he hasn't yet "arrived" and "figured it all out." He may not realize yet that he never will. Life is one long, perpetual lesson. I'm at least old enough to have figured that out. But I see him progressing, learning, growing, and becoming…and that brings me joy.
So now it's time to put on the Happy Mom face and plunge into the world of pomp and circumstance.
May God bless and keep you always, My Son…My Little Nutbrown Hare.