My son is graduating on May 18th. Once the commencement is over, that’s it; I will be retired.
No more alarms to make sure they are up on time. No more cooking breakfast. No more packing lunches. No more second and third trips back up the stairs to get someone out of bed.
I don’t know who is more excited about this graduation: my son or me.
I am not kidding. My youngest child has turned 18 and is about to graduate all in a month’s time. Zero tears have been shed. Sure, I’ve had a few walks down memory lane. Like the two years between his starting preschool and kindergarten. How he would say, “the-en” when the cover was closed on a book I’d just read. How his first word was ball. Anything colorful and sphere-shaped was called a ball for a long time.
I started really counting down the days when we were three weeks out. I dreamed about the mornings I could get up to my own alarm, have my coffee in peace, and then start my workday. How I wouldn’t find two loads worth of laundry stuffed into the dryer because he’d washed a load late the night before and left my load in there. And how I wouldn’t have to yell about it anymore. How I wouldn’t have to nag about homework. How I wouldn’t have to rush to get something he needs for a project because he waited until the last minute to even bring it up.
I’d been looking forward to his senior year. It was the first year he’d have me and his dad all to himself. I had planned to make it memorable. I’d created all sorts of collectable moments along the way in my mind. I’d started preparing myself for all the tears I was going to shed as we hit each milestone in a school year building up to graduation where surely I’d need a box of tissues and a sports drink.
I’d be the mom in stands with a bull horn, a banner with his special nickname, and engages the confetti blaster despite the school’s request to keep things “distinguished.”
What I didn’t anticipate was the senioritis he would catch a few weeks before the school year started, gradually increasing in intensity until I finally found a cure around Christmas time.
I thought the back half of the year was going to be the comeback. I still had hope for those fun times ahead. And even though school was closed for an additional week after winter break due to a massive flu outbreak, somehow he managed to catch it again. The virus appeared to have morphed into some kind of super-bug, incapable of being stopped.
We’ve powered through. He’s been shown tough love this last semester ever. The toughest he’s seen in all his eighteen years. I’ve threatened to attend all his classes with him. I’ve suspended cell phone service. I’ve changed Wi-Fi password.
And I’ve let him make his own choices knowing that he, and he alone, will be responsible for the consequences of those choices.
I’m not going to pretend I won’t get a tad emotional when he walks across the stage.
Because that’s it. It’s over.
I’m retired. And he is an adult.