I’ve never been good with transitions. Maybe it’s because I moved a lot as a kid, bouncing in and out of seven schools in twelve years. Maybe it’s because I take things to heart and feel things deeply. Or maybe I’m just an overly-analytical, sentimental weirdo who spends way too much time thinking about the stuff of life. Whatever the reason, transitions are hard. Especially my kids’ transitions.
I'm gonna expose my soppy self here: When my sons graduated from pre-school, I’m pretty sure I was the only mother in the small crowd who was teary eyed. Same with kindergarten and later with moving up from elementary school to middle school. And now, as the final minutes count down until summer vacation, I’m on the threshold of my youngest son graduating from middle school and moving on to a new high school out of state. Cue the Kleenex, extra large.
Maybe you’re on the verge of your child’s transition, too. Watching him take one more step away from us feels weird, right? Yes, it's the way things are supposed to go, but it's weird. Their transitions are also our transitions and it's important that we honor them for ourselves with the same care we do for our kids. That means acknowledging the change as we feel it.
Thirteen years ago, I was a young, naive mom delivering to the school’s doorstep my first-born, a tow headed kindergartener with baby teeth and a new world before him. He held my hand as we walked into the classroom, wondered how to find his way to the bathroom, and hugged me a little longer than usual when we said goodbye for a half day away. We moms milled around outside the school for a while, not quite ready to leave. We shared school information, got to know one another, and planted seeds of friendship as our children made their own friends inside.
As my youngest spends his final day as an eighth grader at this same school, he and the classmates who started together as young tikes are now taller than their moms, have the voices of young men and could sleepwalk the campus where they know everyone by name. Goodbyes come with a quick wave as they jump out of the car and don’t look back. They’ve grown up. And so have we, their moms. Together.
We’ve met along sidelines at sporting events, where we’ve asked for advice and shared details of our children’s lives. We’ve sat side by side at plays with big smiles and cameras rolling, the mama-razzi capturing moments in time. We’ve shared laughter and tears, celebrated successes and ached over hardships. We’ve met for coffee, walks, and lunches.
And so, as my boy leaves something behind, I do, too. While I know I’ll see these wonderful women again, it will take more effort and we won’t have the same shared experiences. It will be different. And I will miss them.
These are feelings I have to feel. And while I'll give them their due, I won't wallow in them. Instead, they are my springboards. I take them as my call to do something. And this transition has reminded me not to take things and people for granted. Cherish them. Make time for them.
That's what I've decided to do during these last mornings of this waining era. I have finally stopped talking about meeting up with the moms who have played a special role in my life and I've done something about it. I've asked them for one more time together. And I’ll honor my own transition by sipping coffee with them as we talk about shared history and next steps, just the way we have for years.
But this time, I’ll feel a deeper sense of gratitude for this time and these friendships. I’ll share with them the things I most appreciate about them and the ways they've touched my heart. And I will savor one more shared experience before the final bell rings, marking the beginning of summer and end of an era.