The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.
~ Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
My eldest son, Captain Scarlett, graduated from school last week.
It seems only yesterday I was leaving him for his first day at school. That morning where he said ‘bye Mum!’, and sat, entranced by his teacher and oblivious to his mother’s distress. I dissolved in the car park that morning, rescued by another anonymous mother, who took one look at me and gave me a big hug. She said to me – it’s either your first or your last, first day at school. I don’t know who she was, but I have always felt grateful to her for that hug, and that understanding. Her insight showed me that this wasn’t something I did alone. She showed me that mothers all feel this way when our children start that oh so thrilling (for them) and heart-wrenching (for us) journey through their schooling towards independence.
And here I am, 13 years later, at the other end of the spectrum. Reminding myself of the many who have gone before. I am not the first mother to have her son graduate – it only feels that way.
On Friday morning, as he was about to walk through the guard of honour formed by the rest of the students and teachers to ring the school bell one final time, he came and gave me a big hug – enveloping me in the bigness of him. The ratio of our sizes has swapped since that first day of school. Where he barely came up to my elbow at 5 years old, now at 17 I don’t clear his shoulder.
I am proud of the man our son is becoming. But I am not totally ready to cut the strings completely. There are days I just want to stop him going anywhere – taking the carkeys from him and wrapping him in cotton wool and keeping him safe from harm. Of course, there is absolutely no chance of him allowing that! These days, if he is out with his friends at night, he’s liable to lecture ME before he leaves – “Don’t worry, Mum! Get some sleep!”
This growing children is as much a journey, as much a learning experience, for the parents as it is for the children. G jokes that we’ll get it right by the third time round. I fear that is optimistic, given that each of our children are wildly different in personality, temperament and determination.
This morning I was thinking about the passage of time. It was only yesterday – that day he started school. I am sure of it. And now, this week, I am eager to have the week done with. To be at the weekend, and going to collect Captain Scarlett from ‘Schoolies’ on the Gold Coast where he is celebrating with his mates, and 29,994 other school leavers.
I was wishing the week away, and in the process, wishing my life away. I realised how foolish that was.
This week will pass as quickly as all the other weeks have passed, whatever happens. I need this week to count as much as any other in my life.
Life is to be lived, every moment – the good, the bad and the wish-it-were-here-already moments.
I won’t waste any of those moments on wishing they were gone already.
Congratulations, my dear son. You have the world in the palm of your hand. Take good care of it, and live. Every moment.