Sunday, May 29, 2022

Happy Graduation


When my youngest graduated from preschool, I was a sobbing mess. I'm not exactly sure why, likely because my hormones were still a mess from having three kids (nine years later I'm happy to say they've finally evened out and yes, it really did take me that long), but regardless of the why, I cried so hard in a McDonald's that I made the entire dining room uncomfortable (you can read about it here). This made convinced I would be a mess for future milestones and goodbyes. Tuesday night at 7 p.m., my oldest graduated from eighth grade. This means we now have a high schooler. I have not once cried about it.

While I'm still a little shocked he's in high school, I haven't felt an ounce of sadness. Not one tear was shed. Instead, I smile and excitedly speak about his upcoming endeavors. I'm happy, no thrilled, for his high school years. This kid has endured more than most in the last two years. He will never have the experience of normal middle school years. He had one semester under his belt when the pandemic hit and he's been homeschooled ever since. 

Sure he's had the fun experiences of acne, growing several inches overnight and zero clothes fitting the next day, and all that comes with those fun pre-teen and early teen years.  But he'll never know awkward middle school dances, navigating friendships within school, gossip, and all the things that made middle school cringeworthy. Two years ago that made me mourn for the losses he didn't know he was having. Now, I'm thankful he missed out on the experiences because they weren't normal years for anyone. I'm not sad my baby is growing up and moving on. I've gotten precious time with him the last twenty-six months that I wouldn't have gotten if the pandemic hadn't hit. It has made me ready to let go and watch him move through life.   

While I'm impressed with myself for unexpectedly keeping it together through this milestone, I'm more impressed with my son. He has worked hard and has complained very little throughout this ordeal we call the pandemic. He's rolled with the punches, took time to do and appreciate things he wouldn't have gotten to do if he had been in school. As much as I'm the parent raising him, he's also raised me; constantly teaching me life lessons, changing my perspective, and was a teacher long before I was.

We celebrated graduation with a reception at the campus with his fellow homeschool graduates followed by a late night pizza order at home and a weekend full of fun at the pool. No matter how much we celebrate, it will never be enough to convey just how special this now teenager is. 

Last day of homeschool from the couch.

He still lets me hug him (occasionally).