I drove away from the event center last night where my son had just graduated, alone.
I had a Gwen Stefani CD in the CD player and I felt a shift as the coin of acceptance dropped and I belted out “Ain’t no Hollaback Girl” along with Gwen.
Everything felt just … right.
Nic left the event with his girlfriend, my parents left together and I left with a smile on my face.
I have been so scared of the rapid changes in the dynamics of my relationship with Nic this past year! I needn’t have been.
Here I was worrying about where I would fit in his life. Here (Literally right here) I was worrying whether or not I’d done enough for him – done the right things by him.
Then, in the parking lot right after graduation, he picked my mom up in a hug and then shook my dads hand, and POOF! The worry dissipated.
I mentally dusted my hands with a ‘well, that’s-that then’ resolve, and a peace settled in.
It was sort of like hearing your little one say “thank you” without being prompted for the first time, or seeing them hold the door open for someone (Okay, I still feel a surge of pride when he does those things.)
In a single moment, I glimpsed Nic, the young man, and I was simultaneously proud of him and awash with an odd sensation of freedom. Freedom from worry.
When I got home, (after uploading a bazillion photos to my ipad and managing to blow my icloud memory out of the sky) I had a little time alone to reflect.
And in reflecting I was SO grateful!
I thought about all the people who had a hand, directly or indirectly, in raising my son with me.
Yes, I’m a single mom, but a whole slew of people have been instrumental in the successful rearing of my child. (And now I’m cracking up thinking of the quote from ‘Knocked Up’: Jay: I’m going to be there to rear your child. Jason: You hear that, Ben? Don’t let him near the kid, he wants to rear your child!)
I was completely filled with appreciation and memories. Gratitude and love.
I wanted to thank every single person individually. There are people who don’t even realize how much of an impact they had on my journey as a mom.
So I try to tell people who touch my life that they have. I try to remember to thank and acknowledge the people I love, the people who love me back – and the people who love Nic.
And in that moment, when Nic had my mother in his arms – and my dads hand in his – I knew he was doing the same thing.
Today is the last day of High School for my son.
The last day I shuffled to his room holding breakfast in one hand and flicking his light on with the other.
The last day I turned off his fan, turned off his alarm clock and called his name.
“Nic … wake up.”
I don’t know what I was expecting. I feel everything like I’m reading either a hilarious or very touching Hallmark card when it comes to my son.
I left him as I normally do – blinking and squinting at the light. Propping himself up on his elbow and less than enthusiastically working the spoon.
Then I make coffee – and peer in to his room from the kitchen to be sure he didn’t lay back down and close his eyes.
Like most parents, I’ve taken a photo of Nic on each ‘First Day of School’ through the years. This morning was bittersweet as I coerced him into some ‘Last Day of School’ photos.
I wanted the half hour that we sit together, watching the news in the living room, to last forever.
The clock wasn’t magically participating in my desire to prolong the moment – time was not slowing. Pffft.
He grabbed his items – I followed him out to the porch. Watched as he unlocked the car, opened the door. I recorded his exit – like the annoying photog I can be.
Then he drove away.
Just like that.
I sat with my coffee thinking back. What else will I never do again?
I’ll never argue with him about calling in sick. I’ll never write another excuse note or permission slip. I’ll never attend another open house – or meet his teachers. (Unless I bump into a college professor, hopefully!)
I’ll never shop for uniform tops again or have to dig for lunch money on Monday mornings. Never again hear his principal on Sundays announcing the upcoming week’s school events. No more school pictures, tripping over his backpack, registering for a new year, nagging him about homework or listening to him share his day …
I tried to find a silver lining – and the only thing I could think of is: I won’t have to set my alarm for 6 am anymore.
Who knows what’s next. Hopefully I’ll have raised enough money for him to go to the UK in July – then … it’s his call.
I remember being SO excited when school was ending – then having a sobering moment of ‘Oh … wait. This is REAL.’
I don’t know if he’s had that thought yet.
But when he does, I’ll be here for him. And I’ll support him in whatever step he wants to take.
Tomorrow is Nic’s last day of required schooling!!!!!
This morning I watched him walk to the car – balancing his necessary items.
Evidently, the last ‘wave from the porch as he walked up the road to the bus stop’ came and went without me knowing it.
Dang it! I missed the opportunity to stand there, misty eyed, reflecting on past waves.
I demand a do-over. I did NOT get the photo op I have waited 12 years for.
Anyway, it feels like only yesterday he was graduating from 8th grade!
And now … the big moment approaches.
I’ve been checking the online grade updates – emailing his teachers – talking to his counselor. “Is there anyway, let’s just say, if Nic totally FLUNKED your final, that he would not pass your class?”
Yes, I’ve been in panic mode. As of this moment he has a 3.0 GPA. But still … you never know.
His gown is hanging in the ‘laundry room’ waiting for me to iron it. That is going to be a kick in the pants. I can iron – I do not like to iron. Add to that, the material looks like it will spontaneously combust the moment it spots an iron in its peripheral vision. I’ll be careful. (Or I’ll just call my mom.)
Do you think Nic would have a problem with me following him around tomorrow at school with my camera?
“Don’t mind me … carry on as you normally would.”
Yeah, I thought so too.