Forgive me if I babble here, but I’m a puddle because my boys (ages 8, 11, and 14) graduated from their three schools this week.
Every day I woke up with anxiety and a nagging feeling I forgot something.
I remembered to buy teacher gifts, bake brownies for the class celebration, make dip for the graduation party, pick up meds from the school nurse, collect money for the school bus driver, and clean out the lunch boxes and backpacks.
But I’m worried I’ll forget what it feels like to have kids this age.
It’s all moving faster than a middle school rumor, and I can’t keep up.
The kids are completely fine with it. Psyched, in fact. Shouts of “WOOHOO!” and “SUUUUMMMER!!” echo through the house.
But I can’t stop the lumpy throat and splashy tears, wishing I could just put everything on pause for a few days, until my feelings catch up with how quickly my boys are growing up and moving on.
I always get like this at this time of year. I’m really not good with change. Or kids getting older. Or me getting older. All of it makes my heart hurt if I think about it for too long.
You may be surprised to know that when I was younger, my friends referred to me as “heard-hearted Hannah,” because I never cried at the usual girly stuff. I wasn’t sensitive, and probably not in touch with my feelings.
But becoming a mother split me open and turned me into a big sap.
Last Friday, I attended 8-year-old Eli’s publishing party where he and his peers read an original story under a tree in a classmate’s backyard. Then the class sang songs, and each student thanked another for friendship, helping, or being a good role model, while placing a medal around their little necks.
That’s when the weeping began.
Monday, I sobbed through Aden’s 5th grade moving on ceremony. An amazing parent-produced video showing every kid in the class, and many dancing to Pharrell’s “Happy,” somehow made me sad.
They sang Sara Bareilles’ “Brave,” and Anna Kendrick’s “Cups/You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone,” and all their smiling, innocent faces made me want to freeze the moment until the end of time…. Before they get pimples, and fears, and attitudes. Before they feel excluded, and competitive, and say things they don’t mean. Before their parents annoy them, just for existing in the same space.
But middle school looms.
Tuesday morning I put Eli on the bus for the last time. I’ve been waving goodbye from that bus stop for 9 years.
I can’t believe that part is over and he’ll be walking to a new school next year.
Tuesday afternoon the 5th graders left school for the last time and the rest of the students, teachers, and parents stood in a large circle in front of the school for the annual clap out.
As they streamed out of the building, high-fiving friends, skipping, and enjoying the victory parade, I wiped away tears, grateful for my large sunglasses.
Jacob put on an Oxford short and khakis (refused to wear a tie) and gathered his posse for the 8th grade dinner dance Tuesday night.
I was forbidden from chaperoning so I can only guess there was more talking and texting than dancing and kissing, but that will also change soon.
And today my oldest son stood in a crowded, stuffy gym and graduated from middle school. He nixed a tie and swapped pants for shorts for the ceremony, but still made us proud earning two academic awards with his diploma.
How many more milestones can a mom take in one week?!
I’m exhausted and cried out. I’m done mourning my yummy, little kids, and now focusing on being grateful that my big boys are happy and healthy and doing what they’re supposed to do: grow.
But check in here in another three years, when Aden and Eli move on again to new schools and Jacob heads into senior year of high school.
I better start stocking up on the Kleenex now.