Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Senior Day

By Melanie Lynne Hauser

Saturday was Senior Day during our high school football game (the last home game of the regular season)...all the seniors in football, cheerleading, dance squad and marching band were escorted by their parents out to the field before the game, one by one, and the moms were given carnations.

It was a very sweet ceremony, although of course Younger Son failed to tell us about it until the night before. (However, we were apparently much more informed than many fellow band parents; several mothers were there with wet hair, having been called while in the shower that morning by their forgetful children.)

Naturally, I got a lump in my throat as my husband and I escorted our youngest - so tall and slim in his snazzy band uniform - out on the football field. Taking our place in line, among parents and kids we've known the majority of my children's lives, I realized how much I'm going to miss all this.

Of course, when our oldest graduated and went to college, I understood immediately the loss of a major presence in the house. So I'm prepared for that - the empty room, one less plate at the dinner table, etc.

But with this one, the last one, there's something else I'm starting to realize we'll miss. He's been so active, so social in school and all the different activities, and our lives have been built around that. Not just the day-to-day scheduling (although that's major). But socially, too; our friends are mainly the parents of his friends, even if we primarily see each other at band activities and football games and homecoming dances. But still, that's a major part of our lives.

And next year, it'll be gone. So, possibly, will many of these parents. Because of course, even now we always end up talking about our kids, and the shared experiences we've all had with them. Without that, will we remain friends? I don't know. When will we even see them?

And the kids - those kids! I've known them since Kindergarten! My husband coached many of them in soccer, pre-Kindergarten right up to 8th grade. I bossed them around in Drama Club in grade school, chaperoned countless field trips, drove them to many early morning band practices. And of course, fed them. Snack after snack after snack after snack...

I'll miss them, too. Almost as much as my own son. My life will be much smaller without all of them - and my house will be much too big.

That's what I realized Saturday, for the first time. Between the football game at noon, and driving to the marching band contest at 7:30 PM, my husband and I had a quiet day. A very quiet day. Just the two of us. At home. Alone. What with the poignancy of Senior Day and all that it reminded me I'm going to miss, and then the eerie silence of two aimless adults puttering around the house - I truly understood how different our lives will be this time next year.

I'm prepared to miss my youngest. I'm not sure I'm prepared to miss all his friends and our friends, too. And what do two adults do with themselves on a crisp Saturday afternoon in the fall, without football games and marching band competitions to go to?

I guess I'll find out. My husband said it best (because he's a very sensitive man, and felt all the things I was feeling that day, too). He said that it's not only that our sons are embarking on a new, scary/exciting part of their lives, but we are, too. The difference is, of course - they want to. And we don't.

Kids. They change your lives in so many ways. Even - especially - when they leave.

1 comment:

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I fear this day already and my kids are only 6 and 8!