Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Another LAST First Day

I decided to delete my post from a couple of days ago when I talked about my son's last first day of school.

On Monday, I registered the kids for school.  As I was at the school, signing paper after paper, giving out health information (again), purchasing athletic passes, reading computer forms, paying for lunches and all that happens this time every year for the last 13 years.... all became real.

This would be the last time I register my son for school.

Next year, it will be all on him.

Which is another thing.  He's started applying for colleges.  He already has a first choice in schools and a backup-plan if that first choice doesn't work out.  But he is determined to make it all work.

I'd like to make note that this is ALL HIM.  He is determined.  He knows what he wants and where he wants to go.  HE is applying.

While I support him and sob silently in the background.

I'm not sad that he is transitioning from one chapter to the next, and doing an excellent job of it while I try desperately to hold him back  on for a few more minutes.

I'm sad because I feel like I may not have savored every word on every page of every chapter that I have been so blessed to be a part of up till now.  Did I actually wish days away?  What was I thinking?

And not even 24 hours after I signed him up for his last year of high school, he brought home his application for the Iowa Page Program.

You should know that I knew this would happen.  He considered applying for this his junior year, but chose to stay home and be the president of his class and plan a prom.  He wanted to then, but wanted to plan prom too.  So he said, "next year, mama.  Next year."

Now it is next year.

So next week, we will celebrate (or mourn, depending whether or not you are the kid or the mama in this story) another last first day.

I swear, I swear, I will not take a single day of this year for granted.  I will take it all, the hustle, the stress, the everything and savor it.  Or at least I will not wish it away. 

Because for all the time I've invested in these kids....I can see the payoff.  It may have seemed that I demanded a lot from them.  And it's true.  But only because I expect them to be good people.  To love God.  To love each other.  To use the gifts they were each given.  And to let everything else fall into place.  In the process, some things have to fall to the wayside. 

And guess what...sometimes it works out.  I never ever expected anything more than the greatness that is unique to each of my children.  It looks different for them all. 

Which just colors my life.  

Mamas~train you kids to be who they were meant to be and not what anyone else thinks they should be. 
And they just might do it. 

In honor of this new LAST First Day, I'm including a reprint of an article that I wrote and was published several years ago in the Texas Suburban Parent magazine and the Virginia Child Guide.  It is about me sending my youngest off to kindergarten. 


I miss kindergarten.  And I will forever be thankful for the kind school nurse who gave me a box of tissues and didn't rush me out of kindergarten round-up with mascara running down my face. 

It is no longer my current story.  Just a memory.  One I'm determined to keep alive.  If you care to note, there is a comment about "blinking" and knowing that all of this will fly by.  That's my story now.  No blinking.
The Last First Day
By: Robin Paulsen

I’ve spent the last five years, two months and 25 days in complete denial about the inevitable event that will soon take place in our household. Quite frankly, I’ve refused to even think about this particular topic and have ably dodged the questions regarding it from well-meaning friends and family members.
But now, there is no more denying that the dreaded day is upon me. Maybe it’s upon you as well. I’m talking about the last first day of kindergarten.
My baby, the youngest of four, will soon be skipping off into the land of public education and structure as I smile, wave and tell her to have fun, all the while, suppressing my tears. Because after this day, I will never again have another “first day” of kindergarten. This is the last one. I’ve been around the mother-hood long enough to know all too well that I am going to just blink and she’ll be getting her driver’s license and shopping for prom dresses. I’ll blink again and find her walking across a stage as she accepts her diploma.
That settles it. I’m done with the blinking.
My baby, of course, having watched three older siblings going off to school, has been waiting her whole life for this day. She has practiced all she thinks she needs to know before walking into a classroom. Tying laces, zipping zippers, and reciting her address and phone number are all a breeze for her. She can write her alphabet. The proof is permanent and on our basement wall. And not being satisfied with just saying, recognizing and writing her ABC’s, she has successfully burped her way through the alphabet song. In her mind, this feat must be worth some sort of extra credit.
It’s true that I’m sad. Sad that a chapter of her life is about to come to an end. But I’m also proud of the fact that I get to be her mommy in every chapter of her life.
And to answer all those questions as to my plans for the school year, I’m not sure what that will look like. I’m not quite to that chapter of my life and, right now, I’m content to savor every page of this one.

I do have a couple of predictions, though, on what the last first day will look like for me. I do believe that a staff member of our school will hand me a tissue and escort me off the property. I’ll go home, drink a hot cup of coffee without having to reheat it, use the bathroom without interruption, and perhaps, read an entire magazine article from start to finish.

But I definitely will not blink.

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