My Last One

I’ve shared in previous posts that my youngest son, Garris, is starting high school this year. Tomorrow, in fact. I’ve shared how melancholy I feel about this rite of passage for him. And I’ve shared some of the bittersweet moments that have already taken place.

But let me share with you how it feels, as a mother, knowing your last child is starting high school. Your last child is making a huge step from being your child to being your grown-up child.

For me, I want to go back to his first day of kindergarten. Start over. Do it better than I did with him. Mostly, I’m not ready to let him go.

I’ve never been one of those moms that was in a hurry to boot my kids out the door. And I’ve never understood those moms. In some families, kids leave home as soon as graduation is over. And parents celebrate!

All of my boys have summer birthdays, so I waited until they were six to send them to school. They have always been among the oldest of their classes. But I don’t regret this decision. Especially with boys.

I see Garris pulling away from me almost daily. Not in a mean-spirited manner. He’s simply becoming more independent. That’s a hard thing for a mom who spent the better part of the past 24 years raising kids. I opted to stay at home with my kids and still agree with that decision. But it makes it difficult to move onto the next phase of my own life.

I don’t want to be a clingy mom and make my son a ‘mama’s boy’. I don’t want to stifle his learning or his maturity. I don’t want to make him resentful of me. But I also don’t want to be out of his life completely. And I think that’s what concerns me now.

I just want to stay part of his life. My biggest fear is that he will outgrow me to the point of not needing me for anything.

I will relish every moment with Garris over the next four years. Speaking from experience, it goes by faster than I was prepared for.

But I also need to start cultivating my own interests again. I have spent so many years making sure that my kids were following their dreams, I kind of forgot about mine. After all, while they were growing up, it was their turn to shine. Now that Garris is on the cusp of adulthood, I need to recapture my own curiosity again.

My last one. Such a final thought. My last freshman. My last student driver. My last high school rodeo rookie.

As Garris enters high school and begins his four year trek toward adulting, I know that a lot of firsts are still to come. I just have to make sure he and I both experience everything life has to offer while we still have the opportunity to share.

Whether you’re on your first or your last, have a great school year. And make every last experience count.

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