It’s never easy, watching him walk out the door on the first day of school. Every first day takes him one step closer to adulthood and further away from me. He grew and changed so much during his freshman year of high school. I am so proud of the young man I see before me, but I ache for the little boy who wanted nothing more than to hold my hand.
That little boy is now several inches taller than me and wears the same size shoes as his father. This morning when I asked to take his photo, he politely indulged me. He let me give him a hug before he left, and I even managed to plant a good-bye kiss on his cheek. I teased him about how tough it must be to have a mom who loves him so much and makes a big deal out of everything. But even though I know it annoys him sometimes, I won’t stop. In just three years, he will start college. The time is going to zip by, and I plan to savor and make the most of it. I will grasp firmly to each of the little moments. I will photograph them and tuck them away in my mind. I can only imagine how much I am going to need them later.
No one tells you before you have children what it feels like to watch them grow up, how your heart aches with every milestone. Even if someone does try to prepare you, I don’t think it’s something you can understand until you experience it. The first day of preschool, when the teacher has to practically peel your child out of the back seat, wrecks you, but it could not possibly compare to putting him on the bus for kindergarten the first time. Eighth-grade graduation, when you see your kid in a cap and gown accepting a diploma, blows your mind a little, but it’s got nothing on the first day of high school. The big moments don’t get any easier because with each one you realize your child needs you a little less.
It’s never easy, watching him walk out the door on the first day of school. I cried a little this morning. I always do. I know that the biggest milestones, high school graduation and the first day of college, are right around the corner. I know he will be ready. He is a bright, confident young man, but I still see in him that little boy who wanted nothing more than to hold my hand. I’m not ready to let him go. I don’t know if I ever will be.