Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bye Bye Babies

This was a piece I wrote a few years ago when The Boy Child was getting ready to graduate from high school.  Now Mallie Bee is a month away from that milestone and ready to spread her wings.  It will take some getting used to not having any kids in the house, especially after this morning when that girl cracked herself up all the way to school.  The has flown.

Our daughter’s senior year of high school had all the makings of a bad storm, with foreboding clouds that seemed to relentlessly hang over the house.  I was thrilled she was able to go off and spread her wings and she was more than ready to go, but all of it made my stomach churn.  After her graduation, we spent the summer planning her dorm room, buying bedding and other necessities, so when she asked me if she should start packing her clothes, why did it stop me in my tracks?  Pack her clothes?  She lived here.  She couldn’t take her clothes with her.
That daughter is now a senior in college and anxious to finish school and begin her life, but now there is another senior in the house, a son this time, and we will start all over again.  This go-round doesn’t seem to be so raw and I don’t seem to be fretting as much which makes his life so much easier than his sister's. 

That boy ran cross country for most of high school and when his final season ended, we attended the banquet where it is a custom for each of the seniors to make a speech.  He was near the end and thanked us, his coaches and a freshman who ran behind him during a varsity race.  He told the audience that he didn’t think he could have finished the race had Reed not been behind him and encouraging him, and then he ended it with special thanks to the guys on JV, to whom he was especially close.

I was enormously proud of this child who on a daily basis struggles with many aspects of academics, but does not let it knock him down or forget to thank those who push him on.  Like his sister, there is a bigger world out there waiting for him and we will spend the summer looking for bedding and packing his clothes. 

When the car is loaded with all the things needed to start a new adventure, we will cheer from afar.  The raising of them required us to be tough when we wanted to cry, to hold them to a very high standard because we thought they were capable of so much, to demand that they work hard because a successful life requires hard work, and to sometimes let things slide when they needed a break. 

It has been no easy task to hand the reins over to teachers, principals, school nurses and guidance counselors but we did, and sooner than we thought we handed them over to each of them to manage their own destiny.  I hope we’ve done our job well enough for them to know that their dad and I believe they hung the moon.......

.........and the road we traveled to get them there was our favorite place to be.

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