|August 9, 2010 The Last First Day of School|
Quickly approaching for my husband and me is the eventual leap from the nest by our son, Joseph. Joseph began his senior year of high school on Monday. I find that my tears are coming at the most unexpected times. They catch me quite off guard. A few weeks ago we received the yearly packet from the school with the usual letter, school calendar, optional insurance policy...you know all of the junk you receive at the first of the year. I was looking through the packet and looked at the dates and vacations on the calendar and even looked to see what date graduation would be. Seeing the date of graduation didn't bother me. What bothered me was picking up the elementary letter for the kindergarten and K-4 parents to read from the elementary principal. It was a straight forward letter about visiting the school and meeting their child's new teacher. My mind went back to visiting Joseph's kindergarten classroom and teacher before he started kindergarten. Charlie and I both went together for this and I remember sitting in those little chairs with my knees almost up to my chin. I remember the teacher talking to us about their different routines. The one statement she made that sticks out in my mind the most from that day was "If you don't believe everything your child tells you about me, I promise not to believe every story your child tells me about you!" That is when the tears got me. Where did the years go? It seems only yesterday that we were those new parents sitting in those little seats. How can 12 years have passed so quickly?
I did really well the morning of the first day of school for this year. Really never had an inkling that this should be a particular tearful time for me. After reading Facebook entries that day, I felt really proud of myself for not being so emotional that morning. When I got home from work, Joseph had left me a pile of forms to sign and papers to read. When I started going through them, I read this page sent home by his English teacher:
Her Last, First Day
The day has come. I once prayed, begged, pleaded and even found myself wishing away sleepless nights, the terrible twos, broken rules and teenage rebellion. I now stand dumbfounded, mystified and frankly quite panicked realizing that magically and with tremendous regret, my wish has finally been granted. Today is her last, first day of school.
Although she often argued that I never listened, I heard every word. She claimed that I was old fashioned and didn't have a clue. But I defined the "Bible belt" and went by all the rules. She questioned my intelligence and was annoyed at my forgetfuflness and often reminded me that she was "grown". As her mother, I gave birth to this brilliance, remembered what I wanted to forget and understood that no matter what she said, Aubrey was always my baby.
What she will never know but one day come to appreciate, were my late nights after silly fights, my old clothes, her new shoes. My empty wallet, her fancy purse. My yard sale finds, her name brands at the time. Her last minute needs, just-because wants and everything in between. I hope she will be thankful for her first tears, all of my fears and wondering if I ever got it right So with hesitation my chapter must end so that her book can now begin. It is difficult, almost debilitating for me to address the inevitable.
So today I encourage every mother to hug a little tighter, bake another batch, read another page and play one last time. Freezing the frames to memories is not in vain as today will soon be yesterday, and tomorrow will merely be the last, lasting first for eternity.
M Elaine Shiray
from the Times Daily, August 11, 2009
I cried. Everything this mother wrote about was totally our relationship. Of course, we have to substitute Polo Shirts for fancy purses, but the rest fit us to a T. I have forewarned Joseph of my many tears that are yet to come for this year. I told him that I would cry at Show Choir, his last Chorus performance, his last Soccer Game, graduation, and any other time my eyes felt like releasing their emotion. He said, "Yeah, I know". Then I told him that I loved him and he said again, "Yeah, I know."
Linked with Chatting At The Sky.