A Letter To My Soon To Be High School Graduate

Dear son,

Forgive me for my strangeness during your senior year, especially during this last action packed, emotionally charged phase.

30 days from today, you, my 6’1 baby boy, will take the nicely pressed gown off the hanger and grab the matching blue cap and head to high school for one last time.gown hung and ready

I teared up the day I hung your freshly pressed gown in your closet for safekeeping just a few short weeks ago. And also the day I ordered it, back in the fall.  Why does that feel like 5 minutes ago?!

In 30 days, you will walk across the stage, diploma in hand and become a graduate.  I will be anxiously watching, camera in hand, surrounded by loving family and friends who come to celebrate you on this day. Some of these same people also held you as a wide eyed infant.  Now you will be a wide eyed high school graduate. I am predicting a few tears from my own wide eyes as I watch you.

You will walk across the stage with your diploma in one hand and your future in the other.  You will toss the cap, shake hands and give those wonderful big bear hugs of yours that I so love.

I still can’t believe that it is YOUR turn to be 18 and to graduate. And that it is my turn to let my baby fly the coop.

And my head is challenging my heart every day that we get closer to these two big events.

Soon after this big day, you will proceed to walk out our front door to a dorm room to become a college student.

I am really not sure how that will be for me.  I am more concerned about how that will be for you.  I know it will be incredible.  But what will it be like those first few weeks when the realization hits that you have truly left home?  I know it will be more than fine, exciting and thrilling.  But oh how I wish that I could magically appear when you have those moments of maybe needing to call out, “Mom” ….that I could be there in your room in mere seconds.

My heart says to tell you that you can call me the instant that happens.  In fact, please do!  Or if you decide to resist that urge, my mind says that I understand and that I readily accept that.

My head tells me to truly plan to do what the college adviser told us parents to do at the open house.

We were told to let go.  “Let go parents”she gently said to us as we sat quietly still hearing all about the college that our children had chosen.

My head totally agrees with that.

My heart has other ideas.

Don’t worry, my head will win out on this one because my heart knows that it is the right thing to do.

You are holding up pretty well through all of the excitement, hoopla, planning, finals, numerous year end senior events and even having to deal with the weird person that your mother has become lately.

I know I am more manic than ever but also super managed (probably in an annoying way for you) as I check off the list.  The huge to do list that occurs during senior year and then revs up to high gear during the last two months.

That is my head at work.

And I can’t forget about your little sister.  She is also graduating 8th grade the same week that your graduation happens next month.  And from a middle school that has over a week’s worth of their own events.  Or the fact that starting high school is also a big milestone for her that must not be overshadowed by your college start.

So this Mama heart feels double the exciting anxiety for both of you!  My head’s job is making sure that it is kept in check.

So at this point, I am somewhat of an excited, bumbling, emotional, managed, manic, overwhelmed and overjoyed person that I know at times, may puzzle you.

You are both anxious and chill about the approaching big day and the even bigger day that soon follows of starting college.

So if I seem a bit hazy and anything but lazy right now….and if I seem a little off, a little shaky, very proud and a bit loud, but filled with quiet tearful moments that I can no longer hide as we approach this huge summer of change….well…it is that head vs heart issue again.

Please bear with me and know that this time is about you.  It is your special time and I want you to take it all in!

My mind instructs me to be organized, helpful to you, prepared and so thankful for this gift of graduation season and the family, friends and joy that come with it all.  In exactly one month from today.

My heart, on the other hand, struggles to understand that it is time to really let go.  My job of being a hands on Mama bear is done.  I did the best I could and I know at times that I could have done better.

Being a mother is constantly a battle between the heart and the mind.  But I tried to find a balance between my heart and my mind with every parenting decision I made, some very tearful and difficult and some so joyful that my heart swelled up two sizes!

I am told by moms who have walked this road before me that being your mom remains the same wonderful loving experience, just in a new chapter.  For both of us.

So as you move out to move on, know that my mind will be readily available for any advice that you may seek, to let go as you go, to discuss or not to discuss (as you wish) things that may be on your mind.  My hands on days have been fulfilled and what a wonderfully exhilarating and happily exhausting joy those years gave me.

Every one of those days that filled these last 18 1/2 years absolutely filled my heart to the core.

So as my mind struggles to fully comprehend the changes that it is time to make, my heart remains steadfast and full and is always available to you.  Whether I am in the next room here or miles away from your dorm room, my heart is always with you.  Always my son.

30 days from today you will cross that stage and walk into your new chapter! 2016 grad paper

My hands off chapter, your hands on go get em’ world chapter!

I couldn’t be more excited for you and more joyful for your future!

That is just how much I love you, my little baby boy, my curious toddler, my big boy preschooler, my handsome hockey player, my mindful middle schooler, my busy bee teenager and now my young man.

That magical transition happened so quickly from birth to 18 and the sheer speed of that is puzzling to my head and heavy on my heart when I watch clips from your graduation video that I am now working so hard on.  Truly a labor of love.

You are the most heartwarming experience I could have ever imagined when I was imagining you those 9 months leading up to November back in 1997!

What a ride it has been!  Thank you for being a good and kind son and for working with my Mama mind when I had to tell you no at times.  Thank you for embracing my heart even though I know it was embarrassing at times to have such a mushy Mama!

My heart and my head just couldn’t be prouder.  Both can be seen quite clearly in this handsome senior prom picture that your Dad took of us last weekend.  Happy Graduation son!  Go get em!

Senior prom pictures :)

Love,

Mom