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Last Day of School: An Open Letter to My 15-Year Old Son

 

Today is your last day of school as a freshman in high school. {Breathe!} I have already sprung tears just thinking about it and it’s only 5:34 a.m. It’s going to be a long day!

I think back to your childhood, because that’s what moms do. When we’re feeling nostalgic, the best remedy is to just dive right in and let the waterworks happen. I peruse through all the sweet drawings you did for me when you were little and how they all had “Mom” and “I love you” written somewhere on them. I flash back to the year 2007 when you hated sleeping alone and felt safer sleeping on a mattress on our bedroom floor. I reminisce about how hard puberty hit you and how you were never too embarrassed to ask me questions about your body. And who could forget the day you stood up in front of our church and were confirmed? The tissues were sure flyin’ out of the box that day.

And then, WAY before I was ready to let you go, you went ahead and went off to high school. Could you not have at least consulted me first? I would have loved a vote, even if it was inevitable. I had so many fears for you. I hid behind thinly veiled “Mom-isms”. I told you to do your best and make good choices. I told you to be your own person. I told you to have integrity; to do what’s right even if no one’s watching. Yet I feared who you would choose as friends, how you would spend your free time, what temptations you would face, if you would struggle with balancing academics and athletics.

The anxiety I felt as you went off to high school on your very first day was akin to how I felt leaving you at kindergarten the first day, only this time you didn’t weep and cling to me, rather you practically dove and rolled out of the car. In any case, I was in tears both days.

I remember being a teenager and time going excruciatingly slow. I couldn’t wait to grow up because I already felt like my soul was a hundred years old. Now, as a parent, I wish I could freeze you at certain stages (heck, EVERY stage) of your life so that I could go back and revisit that time again. I want to hold my Baby Griffin once more and smell his head. I want to scoop up Toddler Griffin and swing him around so I can hear him erupt into infectious giggles. I want to snuggle into bed with my Kindergarten Griffin and have him tell me once more how he’ll never stop giving me hugs. I want to hear “Mama” come out of his mouth one more time. I want remember how it felt to have his hand folded tightly in mine. I want just one second of any of that back.

Someday, I pray, you will find out with your own children how quickly time goes. Your freshman year screamed by for me. Like, I made the mistake of blinking and it was over. You did well in your classes but struggled to figure out how to study for Geography. You excelled in alpine skiing. You tried out for several other things and had to swallow your intense disappointment when you didn’t make it. You were genuinely happy for your friends who did and told me how they deserved it. You liked a girl and got hurt. You recovered and found yourself a sweetheart of a girlfriend. You showed yourself, time and time again, to be kind, respectful, and make good choices.

You are not perfect. Neither am I. Sometimes I hold on too tight. Other times I don’t watch closely enough. I let you play too many video games. I don’t avidly check your grades. I let your lunch account run low. I forget to fill out forms. I nag you when I should let you figure it out. I fail a hundred times a day, every day. But just like I tell you to do your best and that’s enough, I need to remind myself the same.

We are both enough. You are an amazing gift and I am so grateful that I get to be your mom. I know that no matter what the next three years of high school brings, God’s got you. He’s got a plan for you, a purpose for your life. There is a lesson in every heartbreak, every disappointment, every moment of pain. There is boundless joy to be had.

There is much to look back on fondly. And I know there is SO much to look forward to. But today, I will just revel in how proud I am of the young man you’re turning into.

My dear 15-year old, there is no son on this planet who is more loved than you.

Always,

Mom

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