Today is Graduation (or: Oh Holy Shit)

Yes, my firstborn graduates from high school today. My baby, the person who changed my very existence just by showing up one day.

I’m proud and I am ecstatic and I am nostalgic. So many choices that I have made, that he has made, end up with us right here.

The moment I found out that I was pregnant was filled with excitement and terror. But from the very first look at that little blue line, I knew that he was my baby. I loved him with all of my heart.

Choosing to raise my boys here in this tiny and close-knit community…any questions I have had over the years about whether or not that was best for them, are answered today. Yes, bringing them up here was the best decision that I could ever have made. The things that they might have missed out on (culture, a more varied education, a larger pool of potential friends); none of those things are as important as their sense of belonging.

He is walking today with young men and women whom he has known since he was born. They are some of the closest friends a person will ever have.

T – the girl he fell in love with on the first day of kindergarten because she could “push him high on the tire swing.”

AC – the next girl he feel in love with and dated maybe 15 different times over the years.

D – the boy who fought him in kindergarten because Greg showed up wearing purple socks.

J – so close, they’d be madly in love if they weren’t like brother and sister. When her brother died way back in middle school, Greg insisted on going to the funeral saying “she’s my friend.” That was when I understood that he understood what true friendship means.

N – the boy who is now a father. The boy with whom my son got in shitloads of trouble. The boy whose parents I have spent a lot of time sitting with outside the principal’s office.

And most importantly, A. A has been a part of our lives almost since the day they were born. A’s mom has been my co-parent and best friend since the day we first met.

Our boys were inseparable for countless years; there’s no way to count the adventures, the learning, the excitement, the trouble, the hours that they have spent together.

They drifted, as childhood buddies often do. Different likes and dislikes, different activities and interests, different things that make them tick. And yet, they will forever be connected – forever friends. They hold such a special place in each other’s hearts.

And these children hold such a special place in my heart. I feel a sense of pride and, for lack of a better word, ownership for each of these children. I love so many of them, appreciate immensely who they have become and what decent people they’ve turned out to be.

And I know that there will be parents in the audience today who feel the same way about my child. This community is family and full of love.

And that’s what my children may have missed out on in exchange for culture or AP classes.

And as he says goodbye to an era with his classmates, I am saying goodbye to an era with their families, so as I write this, I am bawling.

How am I going to hold it together in the auditorium if I can’t even get my sorry arse out of bed?

Such great news (said with deep sarcasm)

My sons’ friend had a healthy baby boy last night. Yay!

He’s 17. She’s, maybe, 16.

Yay!

She still has braces.

It’s so sad.  I know that they are happy – who isn’t when they hold their baby for the first time.

And I know, (or assume) that after wrapping her head around the whole idea, Mom is happy to be a grandmother.

I can’t imagine not loving your first grandchild.

But wouldn’t you want that to happen a bit later in everyone’s lives?

But let’s add some weirdness to the weirdness…

My sons’ 50 year old father just had a baby 2 weeks ago.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Playdates.

Doesn’t anyone know anything about birth control?

The dad thing is ridiculous. The friend thing is just really sad.

I’m not being judgmental as much as I am being a mom – a mom who could barely handle being a mamma at 32 because I felt totally ill-equipped. I can’t imagine what a 16 year old has got to feel like.

And as much as I love my babies, I still think about things I didn’t do before I had them – when I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted. I wouldn’t trade it, but there are certainly things that I wish I had experienced, places I wish I had gone, adventures had.

And I was 32 – What the fuck do you think when you’re 16 or 17? “Oh. I’ll have plenty of time for all of that because my child will be out of the house by the time I’m 35?

Okay, admittedly, that’s appealing.

All I know is that I would be devastated if one of my boys came home to tell me he’s having a baby and a future in this town working at the grocery store. It makes it hard to breathe.

Those two kids, with their new family photo on Facebook, are just babies – babies playing house.

Until they get home and realize that it’s not a game.

And my sons’ dad – he’s got 2 under 2. Good luck on that one.

 

 

 

Child

I have friend’s whose son is very sick. It came from a simple accident, with a simple surgery to repair a broken bone, and then his body went haywire afterwards and landed him in a coma for 3 weeks; fighting for his life for the first week of that.

He’s out of the coma, is awake for little bits of the day, and trying to talk through his trachea tube. He can move his fingers and toes. They are preparing to move to a rehab hospital in a few weeks, for, they hope, only a month.

They have completely given up their lives to be at their son’s bedside – a fact which, I have no doubt, is helping their son in his will to live and recover.

They don’t know, can’t even guess, how little or much damage has been done in the boy’s brain.

He’s 21.

Dad sends out email updates. I find myself reading and rereading these to the point of near-memorization. I get off the phone with Mom or Dad and cry. I say, “Thank you,” when people ask about him or send him love.

It’s almost as if I have taken him as my own.

And that’s the meat of it…knowing a sick and suffering child and family just hits way too close to home. Every thought I have of this child is intertwined with thoughts of my own and what if?

Mom and Dad’s agony and fear are almost unbearable to ponder, and yet, I continually put myself in their shoes. It’s almost as if I think about it enough, if it ever happens (dear god no) in my family, I will be better able to handle it?

I say that with a question mark because we all know it isn’t true.

Nothing can prepare a parent for this.

I think thoughts such as, “Would my child have the same will to live?”

“How could we possibly manage the f-ed up family dynamic in the hospital room?”

“Would I be just as devastated if it was Bobby instead of one of the 2 that I actually birthed?”

Absolutely – without a doubt.

“I don’t have the resources to put my entire life on hold and rent an apartment in another locale and just be at my child’s bedside. What would I do?”

And then my thoughts get so frightening that I stop myself.

I go back to thinking about their child, not mine. I think about the overwhelming love that family shares and the beauty and healing gifts it creates.

I think about their joy in even the tiniest of bits of progress and I feel that elation.

It helps me get out of the doom and gloom spiral.

It makes me want to hold mine ever so close.

It reminds me that I never knew fear until I became a mother.

And I never knew love until that moment also.

How it is in my town

“How’s that new baby doing?”barrels07

“He’s so great.  Almost 3 weeks now.”

“And how’s mama?”

“Great. Got back to barrel racing last weekend.”

Hot dang, makes my uterus hurt.