It was an August morning in 1999. As we lived in Phoenix, Arizona, the morning was warm (the low was in the 80’s, for goodness’ sake) and the sun was climbing with a hard yellow glare in the eastern sky.
I was taking my then-only child to his class for his first day of kindergarten.
Many moms were bravely smiling, holding tears at bay. Some small children were crying in their worries and fears about this new thing they would have to be doing.
Me? I was so happy. No tears anywhere. And David? He was ready. He had a bright smile on his face, a shock of brown hair on his head, and his green eyes twinkled with the new adventure.
Starting school was a good thing.
Today is the end of the Compulsory Education Era in the life of this son. Today is David’s last day of classes at the very end of his senior year in high school.
It’s a cool morning in mid-May. The sunshine is bright and dancing. Landscapers are across the street on the school grounds. We’re approximately 2,300 miles from where we were in 1999. My son has had first days of school as a homeschooler for two years, in a charter school, and in a high school in Southwest Florida. Moving up here for his senior year was difficult for him.
His eyes are still green, behind the black-rimmed glasses. His hair is almost black, but still sticks up in places on occasion. He’s over six feet tall, now. He spent a great portion of this week studying hard as he took his final exams, but his expression is hopeful. College plans loom ahead of him, but he prefers not to think about them.
I totally understand; facing a new era can be intimidating and he is not the blissfully ignorant child he was in 1999.
I sent him into his kindergarten class with dry eyes, but right now, I’m feeling a little teary. I don’t, often. I’m so proud of him. His finals today are in physics and engineering and he’s entirely ready for them. So much so that I would guess he’s just fooling around on the computer, biding time until he walks out the front door.
Next week, there will be an awards ceremony and a picnic. Yearbooks. The week after, he will graduate in a ceremony likely full of the same pomp and circumstance that most of us have passed through on our way to adulthood. And then…he’ll get to take a breather. A break. A pause before he picks up a new backpack and starts his college career.
To all who are ending an era in their lives, I wish you all the best.
To all who are watching them do it? Congratulations. 🙂