Today I took down the streamers.
The balloons have become my daughter’s weapons of war.
The flights from California to Florida, we’re finding, cost more than we feared.
For at least a year after my son quit playing baseball, I cried, just a little, every time I drove by the ball field. I never wanted to stop hating the grass stains.
For four years, I’ve waited for high school to end. To be rid of open campus lunches and rules that don’t work for kids mature beyond their years who are too smart for their own good.
And now, it’s done.
Yes, of course. But there is also a grief I never expected to feel in leaving behind an institution that has brought 6am wake-up calls, 6pm-like-clockwork auto-dialers, and more missed back-to-school nights than I care to admit. Grief in unrealized things and the messiness of life and that odd, ridiculously unnerving feeling that comes when you realize there are no do-overs.
When a part of your life for so long is simply… gone.
A few things remain. We still need to pick up the diploma. Still need the final grade to come in.
Because my son skipped a grade, because he is leaving home for college just three weeks after he turns 17, I feel unnerved. That feeling of knowing you’ve forgotten something but not remembering what. It’s a vague unease, an incompleteness.
I suspect it will soon pass. Soon we will be mired in packing and planning and cross-country trips and U-Hauls. Soon I will be crying and rejoicing for the future, not the past.
For now, I will try my best to learn from yet another unexpected mom-moment, take hope in the power of prayer, the technology of Skype, and a calling plan that includes unlimited texting. Rejoice that my youngest two have more than a decade to go before we head down this messy, surprising, absurdly difficult path all over again.