but that children produce adults.
Peter De Vries
And just like that, I'm the parent of a middle school graduate. In a few months I'll have to say high schooler. Parent of a high schooler. I keep thinking I'm not old enough. I don't think I am. Nor am I mentally prepared for such a realization. I got a jump on the whole child-rearing thing in my very early twenties, and now I find myself mothering a young man. Who alternates between seeming like a man one moment and just a child the next.
I still get hugs. And boy are they good. Goooooood good. I seldom embarrass him. I can still impress him. (Sometimes he reads my blog over my shoulder as we sit in our favorite coffee shop on Wednesday afternoons and he'll say, in an offhand way, "Hmmm. Well written." Gosh that's pretty much all I ever want to hear. His praise is the hardest earned and the most rewarding.) He talks to me and asks me questions. And not just "What's for dinner?". Real discussion about life and love and things most kids his age would find horribly embarrassing to discuss with their parent(s). I hope with all my being that he comes to me about things that are really embarrassing... the things that are usually really important. I hope I always have sage advice and a level head.
My post-parenting years seem exciting, when I dare to dream about them. The day we send Jared off to college will be the hardest day of my life. But also freeing in some ways. An opportunity to experience adulthood from a much different perspective. To re-connect with my individuality. To feel free to go through life making myself the priority. To be my husband's girlfriend again. Oh, to date that man with abandon! I still crush on him, like a school girl writing a boy's name in her journal over and over and over again. With little hearts over the i's. (Note to self: Buy a journal. A pink one with Hello Kitty. Let's do this right.) I still have a few years before this whole alternative life comes to be, and I'm going to parent the hell out of the next four years. Because that little dude is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I owe him everything. Still, a girl can dream about date nights with her ruggedly handsome man.
Our weekend was mellow. There was the loveliest of graduation ceremonies, of course, but also boxes and packing tape and prying possessions out of my husband's hands while stomping my foot and acting like an evil dictator who Will not move this across the country! I won't! Because I have a rational but also not totally rational fear of being buried under piles of crap when we're old. Hoarding frightens the pants off of me. Poor man. I owe him a lot of dates. He gets to pick the movie for the next 20 years.
There are boxes galore! And nights spent watching The Good Wife. If we weren't responsible for another life, we might binge watch while eating dry ramen noodles so we don't have to walk away for even a second. Instead, we have water balloon fights with the kid. Where I make up way too many rules and think it's totally appropriate to stay bone dry throughout the game. (Me, not them. I also believe they shouldn't run away from me so I don't have a moving target to contend with. I'm a blast to play with, as you can imagine.)
Berries are in season and I'm delighted. For the first time in ages, we are chock full of antioxidants. We are practicing astonishing self discipline these days and going sorbet all the way. A particularly annoying bout of eczema (me) and a smattering of other symptoms (kiddo) reminded us that frozen yogurt is still dairy and we need to clean up our act. Just say no to the cow juice! I declared. A man after my own heart, Kiddo orders his as if it were ice cream... on a cone with Nerds candy on top. We are not easily deterred, you see, and I'm proud to say Kiddo inherited my willful determination. Except when his will opposes mine. Oh the standoffs we can have.
Today marks the last day of school. We are free as birds! Except for the whole moving across the country thing. Two weeks from today. Eep! Until then, no waking up at the crack of dawn. Time spent together. Regimented water balloon fights. Good books. And the viewing of Harry Potter movies, I hope. Perhaps a marathon!