Here we are again. Summer is winding down and we are gearing up for another school year. But, this school year brings a whole new meaning for us in our house. Our second child, our second son, is entering his last year of high school. We are starting another SENIOR YEAR!
We went through this just two years ago with our first son and will do it again two more times after this year. But I can tell you this, they are all different. Just like all kids have different personalities, all Senior Years have their own personality.
I know I’m not alone in this type of special school year. Every parent, at some point, will have a child graduating from high school. I learned the first time around that Senior Year isn’t just about the student graduating. It’s about the parents who helped them get there. It’s about the coaches who pushed them to their limits. It’s about the teachers who guided their minds. It’s about their friends who shared experiences with them. And it’s about a whole lot of other stuff we, parents, aren’t even aware of.
So, in thinking about starting another Senior Year, I thought I’d share a few things that helped me get through the first Senior year and will, no doubt, help me get through this one… and the next two.
- Take it slow! When starting a Senior Year, it will seem like a bunch of mud has been slung at your face. You will not be able to catch it all. You will not be able to breathe. You will feel overwhelmed. There will be forms, deadlines, meetings, lists, more deadlines and a barrage of other things thrown at you. It will feel like you are having an “out of body” experience. Breathe. Take one item at a time. Write all the various deadlines on every single calendar you own. Make lists for what needs to be done first, second and so on.
- It’s okay to be emotional! Because of all the things I mentioned in #1, you will start to feel overwhelmed. Maybe even emotional. Then tack on the fact that you are in the last year your “baby” will be in your home (usually) and you will quickly feel that lump in your throat. Tears will well up in your eyes unexpectedly. You will have flashbacks of your child in diapers or learning to ride their bike. These flashbacks will come when you least expect it and they will come often. Enjoy them! We get those flashbacks not just because we are sad that “time has flown” but because we, as parents, have accomplished something. We’ve raised human beings to be independent (hopefully) and we know they are getting ready to start the next chapter of their lives. This leads me to #3…
- Enjoy the moment! I know full well how nice it is to have a camera phone readily available. However, don’t document each second. Put the camera down and let your mind capture each moment. It’s much better than worrying about getting each award banquet, each sporting event, each musical note in a “photo.” Watch with your eyes. Listen with your ears. Let the memories be yours and not something you post on social media. Do take pictures, just know that each moment isn’t for the world to see. It’s for you to remember.
- Cherish the time you have with your senior! Like I said before, there will be tons of moments your senior will be involved with. Whether it’s a sporting event, musical concert, social gathering, awards banquet or whatever your child is into, they will be gone… a lot! What doesn’t happen often, is having your senior to yourself. You will need to literally schedule some time to be with your senior. They are so busy with all of their senior stuff, that each day/ night has something that requires them to be gone. Take time out to be with them… because that’s how your journey started. As a family.
- May will be crazy! When the month of May hits… take a breath and dive in! There will be graduation announcements to mail, graduation parties to plan, graduation party invites to send, graduation parties to attend. (Note: shop early for all those senior friends’ parties you will be attending!) There will also be a TON of “lasts” during this month… the last concert, game, awards banquet, etc. There will be things to coordinate with family, friends, neighbors, people you rarely see. There will be sleepless nights because you are getting those last invites addressed, cleaning the house, baking goodies, etc. It will be CRAZY…and fun!
And then graduation day comes and you get to enjoy,not just the crazy month of May ending, but the last 18 years. You get to sit and watch your “baby” walk across the stage and receive a piece of paper that says…. “you are ready for the world…Go get it!”