This post is in response to Writing 101, Day 7: Start with a quote.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” –Dr. Seuss
Right now in my house, we are navigating senior year of high school. The first senior year. The oldest child. As we move through the daily life of classes and activities, we are also evaluating colleges, considering futures, contemplating resumes and jobs. We are looking outward and forward, to what lies ahead.
Each morning, my son walks out of the house, gets into the car, and drives off to school. As he walks away from me, I can clearly see his two year old self walking down the hall, his toddler feet struggling to hold onto my adult running shoes. The memory of the clop-clop of the shoes hitting the floor and his exaggerated walk as he tries not to trip on the massive shoes makes me chuckle.
I look out the window and see his face through the car windshield as he settles into the driver seat, puts the car in reverse, turns and backs out of the parking space. It is the same face I watched in my rear-view mirror on the boy strapped into the car seat, the five-point harness securely holding him just above the shoulders. Because he is the oldest, at this tender age, he still had the monopoly on my attention. In the mirror, I could see his curiosity and wonder; he would ask a million questions; and he expressed concern that the cars coming toward us might be just a bit too close for his comfort.
I stand and watch as he drives away, and I am thinking about all of the times that he left me behind. When I took him to preschool for the very first time, I stayed with him until he was ready, his warm hand in mine for reassurance. And he finally let go and joined new friends in their play. At four, he rode in a red plastic wagon around the halls of the outpatient surgery center at the hospital before his tonsilectomy. But when they pulled him through the double doors, and I could not accompany him, his face reflected a fear and anxiety that reflected my own and planted a tight knot in my gut.
To him, his daily life is the same as all the other years. Nothing is unusual or different; this year in high school is simply his last year. His reminiscences are not as deep and far-reaching as mine. He is focused on the future. He is thinking about where he will go, what he will become, and when he will see the friends he leaves behind. I am thinking about the future and the man he is becoming, but I am also thinking about this boy as my baby, my toddler, the little boy who was constantly collecting “treasures” that I would have to empty out of his pockets before doing the laundry.
As his childhood transitions to young adulthood, I look back on the many years I have spent raising him—and all of my children. I know that I am blessed to have had this time, and the memories make me smile.