Don't read this today. In fact, don't read this until you are no longer a freshman. You can even wait longer. There's no rush.
I am writing this today because you will enter South Lakes High School in one week, and I cannot believe how quickly we got to this point. Do you remember it all? Do you know how proud I am of you?
Just like you, I was my parents' first child and I remember being your age and feeling like the first-born kid is a little like the first pancake in a batch. Nobody's sure how the process will go. The edges are a little rough. Subsequent ones are formed by more confident hands.
You were my first pancake, and I marvel at how well you turned out and how many mistakes I made along the way. It took me a long time to figure out who you were and I was always at least one step behind you.
You were never on a schedule of my making. I would make plans for us and you would have already moved on to a new phase. Sometimes I felt like I was living on your schedule and sometimes I felt there was nothing managing our time at all.
You learned to sleep when you were tired and wake when you had rested enough. You ate when you were hungry and I just learned to anticipate those times.
You walked after all those mommy guides told me you would but well before there was any place where you needed to arrive on your feet. And the walking became running in the blink of an eye.
You made your own way through the steps. Infant, baby, toddler, preschooler, elementary school student, middle schooler, and now a high-school kid who not only marched to the beat of your own drummer but also ignored the rhythm section entirely for long stretches of time.
So, now you have a schedule that includes things like geometry and world history. The idea of your being at school and having your day measured out in segments in not new to either of us, but I am having a rough time with the notion that you are entering those last four years where you will begin and end your day in a home where we live together.
I did not pay attention to the schedule that told me that this stage was coming next. I forgot that I had passed the same markers in my own young life.
It was different then when I was the one matriculating. I did not plan for a day when I would be the one left behind. When I was young like you, I was in a hurry to get to the next part. I did not plan for this time when I would wish for each day to stretch a little longer to give me more time to catch up with the schedule.
So, I am looking at your schedule. They will expect you to be in these places at these times. Your calendar will soon be populated with marked-off days and scooped-out hours.
You will be asked to adhere to the schedule and I will sometimes be adamant in my demands that you meet some small deadline which looms before you.
Please help me remember that the schedule is just one way to pass these precious days. The will stack up so quickly, these days that are passing us by.
We are on schedule, my son. We are making great time. We are moving so quickly.
Help me remember to grab each second with both hands, releasing it only when the schedule demands. I won't let go a moment too soon.