Several times this past week I have had what some people refer to as a "senior moment." You know what I mean. You are rocking along on something but you realize that you've forgotten something truly pertinent to its completion...or you just forget something that you should know...like the name of a close friend. I'm quite sure that I'm not alone in this because just about everyone I know has lately graduated from calling them "blonde moments" to "senior moments."
Hey, I'm only 48. This can't be good.
I am going to beg off on my "senior moments" being a function of age. I'm going to blame it on the fact that I am the mother of a senior in high school. I don't know if you've had this particular privilege or not, but I'll see if I can describe it for you. In my case, it has been significantly worse with this child because he is my youngest. I think that's pretty textbook, though.
I have spent the past three years with one child in college and the other one at home. My oldest - being female - demanded (without realizing it, I'm sure) the majority of my time and energy while she lived at home. Oh, who am I fooling? If she sets foot in this house or calls...it is just as if she is here full-time. She just has that effect on the family. When she graduated...I was sad...but primarily because I was fairly close to a lot of the kids in her class. I had invested in watching sports teams play, cheerleaders cheer, and dance team members dance. I had watched them excel and change and evolve into the really cool people that they are today. I also didn't panic...because there was always the younger one who was still there.
Except now...HE is graduating. I was really okay with getting out of the tuition payments that I've prayed and stressed through (which I realize if I've done the first then I shouldn't be doing the second...but whatever) since 1996.
Since 1996. It is 2011. That's fifteen years.
FIFTEEN years of tuition payments, PTO memberships, forms to volunteer at the school, football teams to watch, homecoming queens to see crowned, projects to oversee, papers to proofread, teachers to be delighted by or dread, parties to throw (no, not THAT kind of party), dances to chaperone...and so on.
All of that comes to an end on May 19, 2011 with graduation.
Lately, I have been having "senior moments" that I hadn't really expected. The last Prom...where my son attended with a precious girl from his class...almost made me cry. I've known his date since she was five years old. Her older sister was in Jill's class.
This weekend...the event to get through will be the Senior Party. I've been working on that with a group of Moms in the class. We are just praying for a good turnout, favorable weather, and no craziness. We're hopeful that we'll have all of the above.
The good turnout is pretty much expected. Boys from the class are the entertainment...as a band. There will be fireworks after that...and then a bonfire. Parents will be around but not AROUND. There is apparently a difference. Favorable weather is always a crapshoot in April in the South. Last weekend at Prom, there were tornado sirens going off. (Fortunately, there were no issues.) You just never know...
As for the "no craziness"...we just hope that the fathers in the front yard will deter some of that. No, not SOME. ALL of that. See, I totally don't want to see anyone on COPS of Montgomery. That would just ruin the whole evening and this last month.
Fortunately, as I've known a good number of these kids since kindergarten, I'm hopeful that this will be a non-issue. Some of them will find trouble in college soon enough...it isn't difficult, you know.
But before we get to that...tomorrow is Senior High Awards Day. Our very last Awards Day. We got correspondence that told Big Dave and me to show up. That could mean that he received an award...or that his name will be called for his involvement in something. They won't tell...and we won't ask. I really don't want to miss it either way, though.
In a couple of weeks, there will be a Senior-Faculty dinner, a video presentation of all the kids as they grow from babies to seniors, photos from their years together, and their last Senior Lunch. There will be a Baccalaureate service the Sunday before graduation. They will open the time capsules that they made in the 5th grade. And then...
They will don the caps and gowns and cross the stage. Afterward, we will all go to the reception that the junior class is hosting. The very reception that my friend Laurie and I chaired last year. Has it really already been a year? Amazing.
Time is short...and quickly passing by, and I don't want to miss a thing. It is almost as if someone has deposited me into this situation where I'm having to remember so much so fast and so often. I go from being thrilled that we are almost through...to being afraid to actually count the days because it is less than I really want it to be. I've apparently forgotten all of the days (and the struggle) that it took us to get to this point...and I'm in constant amazement at how much there is left to do in such a short period of time. I'm actually afraid to blink.
When Brian graduates...our family will graduate from the school. Our names won't be in the student directory next year. Both of my children will be on the alumni list and will begin having reunions in the course of time. I'm having my 30th high school reunion in October. That hardly seems possible...but after this year...I'm not surprised at how fast time flies.
The other day, we got a PTO volunteer form in the mail for next year...and I laughed to myself. They apparently just sent the forms to everyone without realizing that some of us won't be back. It was a little bittersweet to place it in the trash can...because although I'll miss it...I'm not feeling the need to volunteer for anything right now. Maybe at some point in time that will change.
We won't be walking the halls of Trinity next year. Unless, of course, someone calls Brian to go back up there and do the lights or sound for one of the presentations or arts events...or Big Dave goes back in the Fall to build the set for the Spring Musical...a job he has loved for the past six years. But we will always feel like a Trinity family. Because we have been. It has been a huge part of our lives...and of the lives of our children. A place for them to be educated and nurtured. To learn life lessons...and to hear the words "God" and "Jesus" every day. To be safe.
It is nearly over. The payments. The friendships. The feeling of community. Or it will be in just a few short weeks. Or will it? I still meet with a group of mothers that had kids in Jill's class every month for lunch. We've been at it for the past three years. I'm still in touch with kids who graduated in 2005 - 2010 and with mothers that I've met along the way. Some of them I don't see as often as I'd like...but we're still bonded. We're now throwing showers and parties for the kids we remember on the athletic fields, sidelines, or on the stage that are getting married. A lot of them to other kids who also went to Trinity. I expect that this will only accelerate in the coming years if the past few months are any indication what the future holds. In May, I'll be attending two weddings of "Trinity kids." I found out last night that another one who is special to us from a class above Jill's...is engaged. I can add him to the four from her class that currently are...
But yes, I've been having some "senior moments" lately. Times when I've been sad that our identities are about to change. That we'll have to scrape the "Trinity sticker" off the back of the car. Oh, wait, we've already done that...
At the same time...we are happy that Brian is going on to college and that for one year I will have two college students. I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, it is conceivable that someday we will no longer be making tuition payments. Of this...we can only dream.
Of course, we will be having "senior moments" again next year with Jill. She will be finishing her final year at University of Alabama...and her graduation will mark the end of that chapter in our lives as well. Fortunately, being a fan is something that you don't ever really graduate from...and we can go cheer on the Crimson Tide or tailgate with friends for years to come.
On the other hand...Brian is likely to end up at Auburn after a year or two at Auburn Montgomery. If you are from the state of Alabama...you understand the ramifications of this. A house divided.
I hope that I'll be able to keep my head straight over the coming weeks as we count down to graduation. I may be a little teary...or wistful...or might just be so overwhelmed that I write my maiden name on a check or something. It happens. Because two days after Brian walks across the stage...one of my "other daughters" - also a Trinity graduate...will be taking the "Walk to Remember." Jill is going to be a bridesmaid for the first time. I doubt it will be the last...
That's a lot of change in a short period of time. So, if I seem like I've lost my mind...or I'm crying over something that seems a little bit goofy, I'll just chalk it up to having a "senior moment." If I take way too many photos, or hug kids who think I'm nuts...I won't be surprised. If I forget how many times I couldn't wait for it to be over and want to hold these last few grains of time in the palm of my hand...I'll just consider myself normal. And for those of you who have to deal with me through all of this...bear with me. This too shall pass...and much too quickly, I might add.
Much too quickly.