Our high school is trying to kill me. Not all at once. It is too smart for that. No. It’s more a slow, steady drip. A pecking to death, as you will.
It is Senior Week, which, as near as I can tell, necessitates reminding us no less than a dozen times every day that our babies are grown or almost so and will soon be leaving the nest. This is clearly sponsored by the makers of facial tissues and waterproof mascara.
First up was Sport Senior Night. We lined up along the soccer field, his passion since age 4. They announced his name, and ours. We marched across the field through lines of underclassmen flanking both sides. They smiled and waved and gave high-fives.
It was his last ever regular season game played on his home field. From the early days of running in circles and rolling in the grass we have come to this. Tall, strong, team Captain and leader.
His freshman call him “Captain Matt.” One mother, bless her heart, calls him “Super Matt.” This for his ability to calm and cajole nervous young men into capable athletes and his ability to herd them like chickens to where they need to be. He waits for pickup and gives ride home and makes sure everyone has what they need for the team. He takes ‘no man left behind’ to new heights.
Where I still see my “boy,” most of these mothers — and their sons — see a man. Other mothers hug and handshake and say “my son is going to miss you — I am going to miss you.” In some cases “What are we going to do without you?” My son smiles and assures them their sons will be captain material, too.
One of my proudest moments of late came when a friend’s son, in grade school. flubbed a shoot-out kick. He was so disappointed in himself. Our son, smiling, bent down and said, “Did I ever tell you about my first varsity goal? That would be the one I scored against my own team?” There were smiles all around.
Sometimes the strength of a true leader is to be humble. My shy little boy has grown into a young man that other men look up to. His senior year, we celebrate that.
Tonight is yet another milestone. His last away game. The last time they will, in regular season, manage bus call times, game strategies, the long ride home, and where they might all be going to eat after the game. Pizza or tacos? This all needs to be decided. These are crucial decisions among teen boys after all.
In the end, it would be wing night. Boy gathered around a table soaking up wing sauce, soda and stories of the game. They laugh easily at themselves and everyone else.
There are Senior Locker Decorations. This is another milestone — a time when all the crafty moms can really shine, and the last time we will be invited into the school wielding glitter and glue to create something for our child.
Our son attends college classes for his senior high school year. He seemed mildly surprised that he had a locker at all.
We are cordially invited to a second senior night. We will walk across the football field in a crowded stadium under the Friday Night Lights.
Like most women, I am wishing I had lost weight or had a better hairstyle for this night. Then again, this is not about me.
I have found that since they were very small, I have played support cast to my children’s starring roles. Boywonder is handsome even to non-mama eyes, and strong, smart and kind. Let’s focus on that.
Just moments ago, I held his little hand in mine and led him into kindergarten. Now he will lead me across the field.
If you happen to be there for senior night, you will see a windblown brunette with watery eyes and runny mascara. That probably doesn’t narrow it down much. Something tells me I won’t be the only one.
These are happy milestones and, God willing, happy tears. This is what all the parenting, planning, homework and discipline was good for.
No big deal
Boywonder has been unflappable through it all. He is naturally even-keeled and very reserved, so, true to his nature, he is treating Senior Week like no big deal. That’s good for me.
It helps if at least one of us is being a grown-up about reminders that our time remaining to be hands-on parents to our children can be measured in moments, months and minutes.
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