My elder boy graduates tomorrow. Eighteen years led to this very moment. He says, “It’s no big deal. It’s just high school.” But it is a big deal. It’s here that everything changes.
I’ve been working on a shrine, at least that’s what I’ve called it, in his honor (second photo). Basically this means I’ve moved all the awards he earned this year from our dining room table to the credenza beside our dining room table. I know. Hard work. But every time I add something to this collection of Things That Represent Him, something feels a little off. So finally yesterday I had an epiphany: Those awards? They only tell a fraction of the story. He is so much more. Hence, the rest of the photos.
He’s my scissors stealer, for one. There’s nothing quite like needing to cut apart a piece of paper, probably a permission slip for one of his field trips, and not being able to find a pair of scissors.
His walls are a crazy representation of his love for movies and music. And even though the posters aren’t necessarily from movies he loved (he works at a theatre), he chose to afix them to his walls with PACKING TAPE, leaving a permanent mark on his room.
His shoes are completely worn out. In fact, they’re now more like flip flops than tennis shoes. And he won’t stop wearing them.
He is, as they say, a hot mess.
I know, I know…I’m going to miss him when he leaves for college in the fall. I really do know this. He’s the closest manifestation of me outside of myself, of course, anywhere on this planet. So I get him. (My closet door closely resembled the back of his door when I was his age. Only I used stickers! I am STILL unable to put things, like scissors, back where they belong. And shoes? I wore a pair of ballet flats until the leather was full of holes when I was a teenager. And I’m working on some holes in my Mary Janes as we speak. And I’m 45.)
I’m SO not ready for him to leave. I’m not finished with him yet. I haven’t taught him how to sort laundry or how to cook. I haven’t modeled keeping a clean house. I haven’t explained finances or STDs well enough.
What’s going to happen when he’s far away from home and he gets sick for the first time? Who will be there for him when someone breaks his heart? Who will wake him up when he fails to hear his alarm? Who will hold his hand when he crosses the street? Okay. I’ll admit it has been a few years since I’ve done that, but I’m sure there’s someone in his future who will bring hand-holding full circle.
I know, deep down, he’ll be fine. Because despite my parental shortcomings, I have taught him one very important thing: how to think for himself.
We may not have always modeled good behavior. I cuss too much. My husband and I have argued in front of him. He’s eaten sweet cereal and pop tarts for breakfast almost every day of his life, except for the early nutrigrain bars and banana years.
Still he’s survived. Thrived even.
He’s so innocent, idealistic and naive. And I love those qualities in him. It stings a bit to know he’s on the cusp of becoming jaded. But maybe he won’t. Maybe he’ll be the exception.
All I want for him is happiness. And everything else good in the world.
He’s an amazing human being. So go ahead…expect great things from him. I can assure you he is going to rock this world.