Tuesday, June 22, 2010

baby town

wielding the first of many swords
so now it's this one's turn.

older sister just graduated from college and now my son is graduating from high school. off into the world. but before he takes off for college in the fall, his summer will be filled with many days away from home, spent at friend's houses. working his new job building fences on a horse farm and shoveling muck around a barn. good honest work for the soul. not to mention getting buff and a tan while he's at it.


but first, i remember. crying in the driveway the day i dropped him off at full day kindergarten. was that really 12 years ago? can't be. being the room mom and tagging along on field trips to the pumpkin farm. reading to his class at library time. wondering if he'd ever eat anything else besides chicken nuggets, peanut butter sandwiches and mac and cheese. watching him play with plastic swords and eventually graduate to real ones when he began fencing. winning his first regional competition at 13 followed by years of travel all over the country, missed school, attending tournaments from Atlanta to San Francisco, Hartford to Miami, crappy hotel rooms in some places, luxe ones in others.....and all the competition venues the same, hangar-sized horrible buildings in which you could park aircraft carriers. but winning a national medal made up for that, as well as his crazy but lovable Egyptian coach, and some otherwise just plain crazy folks we encountered thru these last 6 years of fencing.
battling it out 


so now you can do what you want to do, choose your courses, study what you want to study. no more SATs, ACTs, common application essays, worrying about which colleges you'll get into (way to go there buddy - it all worked out, didn't it!)  no more north american cups, summer nationals, junior olympics or stressing about tournaments you don't have to go to anymore.


when you were little you used to say, "get me out of this baby town." i wasn't ever sure to what you were referring but i think it had to do with feeling you were way too old to be doing something -- like at 8 you had long before left disney behind and was on to austin powers --- and by 11 you had had enough with gameboys and was ready for xbox 360. always ready for the next step --- always ready to move on.  i think you were done with high school a year ago.

i'll miss the shouting coming from the pit (his region of the house) when you're in the midst of gamer marathons, the litter of textbooks, dirty socks, fencing paraphenalia, warm-up gear, coke cans, unexpected kisses on the top of my head. reading native son, king leopold's ghost and that horrible zinn book together. your encyclopedic knowledge and love of film.  your intellect and piercing insights way beyond that of a teenager.


diploma in hand

so now you are heading out into your own brave new world. new friends to make, new environments to explore, new life. lots of new life. it's yours for the taking. drink up every last bit of it and don't waste a drop.....you have surely earned it my son.


yes, i'll forget you're not here to eat dinner the first few weeks you're at college and make too much pasta. i'll wonder why the laundry load is so much ........lighter. i'll expect to catch a glimpse of you at your desk when i pass by your room...


but don't worry if mom has a good cry when we drop you off at school in the fall. if you ever need help with how to work the coin laundry, how much soap to use - locating that special knit hat you like to wear, or your phone charger, you can always call. or more likely, text. in the mean time, i promise you something for certain --- i'll be keeping the home fires warm for you.

back here in baby town.

13 comments:

  1. Ah, what lovely blogpost! I haven't got to that stage yet - my son's 16. But he's taller than me and doing his things and at the moment is in Paris doing work experience at Saatchi & Saatchi. My daughter's 12 - already! Scary, isn't it? But nice. I'm blessed to have a son and a daughter whom I love (obviously) but also like tremendously. But when it's time to leave so be it. I'll need a hanky then as well.

    P.S. My son did fencing for about five years but not of your son's standard.

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  2. Oh sigh, how I remember this moment of letting go...It is not as early here, with a different school system, and daughters perhaps are different anyway, but this moment comes...
    What a wonderful tribute to your son, and what an extraordinary young man he is! Congratulations, well done, you both!
    I`m sure he knows what a great mom he has, back in baby town!

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  3. You are such a great Mom. He is so beautiful, he could model but that would be beneath him! I hope one of my kids, at least one, picks up the sword. I started late in life with kids, unlike you, so for me, I consider it parenting and grandparenting all in one. I hope you keep busy Momma, it is going to be very hard not having your baby boy around. I think the sky is the limit for him. Congratulations of your graduation and get out of baby town!

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  4. Not an easy step for moms. Then, one of these days, you'll discover you like that new found freedom.

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  5. dd - i understand what you mean when you say you like your kids (as well as love them obviously☺) - my husband and i really enjoy our kids' company and realize that's not always the case with teens. with yours at 12 and 16 - these are ages where things start to change rapidly (esp with your daughter as the teen behavior sometimes kicks in earlier, like at 10!!) sounds like you're wise enough to know to enjoy their company right now -- congrats on your son's very cool (and ambitious for his age!!) internship!! and if he fenced for 5 years he's probably pretty darn good at it ;-0

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    geli dear, thanks for your sweet thoughts and supportive words! i do think daughters and sons behave differently when they start to separate and leave home, but time will surely tell in this case. i feel so blessed with both my kids and - as sad as it is to let go - all i want for them is to go out and live in the world as the independent creatures i tried to raise them to be............ xoxo

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    yoli - what kind words and such nice compliments - i will pass them along to my son - he will enjoy hearing that!!

    i have trouble believing you are acting as both parent and grandparent - you sound so youthful and of course you fence which keeps you young and active, right?!

    how old are your kids? mine started fencing relatively late at 12, but kids in the states start as early as 7 and 8 with the smaller foils. it's such a wonderful sport and i am a bit of an evangelist having run a fencing academy -- is there a club near you? or maybe you could teach them - i'm sure you'd be the best!!!

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    rosaria,

    i was just speaking with my husband about your comment - it gives me great hope to look forward to that new found freedom you speak of!! i think i read on your blog you have 3 kids? so you've got experience with this momentous life transition as well, yes?!

    thank you so much for your supportive words.......xoxo

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  6. Oh dear Amanda, i have tears over this post too. I know what you are feeling so very well. Your beautiful (really!) son will never leave you, he'll always be just a phone (or text) away. Congratulations on such a wonderful accomplishment, this graduation, Mama and Son!
    (i'll be going through this for the 5th time in August.) :(

    ♥ lori

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  7. What a handsome young man! Tell him congratulations.

    Because my daughter Jen had the accident that crippled her, I've never really been an empty nester; but I do remember the sad feeling when the other three struck out on their own - and shed a few tears. But I live close enough to see them and my grandchildren. You still stay close to your children!!

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  8. Congratulations, and only happy tears from now on*!*

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  9. the last chick is flying the coop. and a chick magnet too. i can see in his eyes that he is ready to spread his wings. so are you. can't wait to continue to explore together the lands of our feminine mystique.

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  10. lori - thank you so much, dear - i was feeling pretty weepy the other night about him leaving and then i read your comment and it made me feel so much better - you're an expert on this matter with 5 kids (and a few of them boys!) so when you you say he'll never leave but only be a phone call or text away i believe you!!

    thank you for your cheering thoughts and i will be thinking of you in august - maybe we should get together then to cry in our beers (or chardonnay!!) ♡♡xoxo

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    ann- your words mean so much to me - i'm so happy to know, from your experience, that kids still stay close even after they leave home - thank you for sharing these thoughts with me. that's wonderful that your kids (and grandkids!!) live close by!!!♡

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    annie - thank you!! i will try hard to remember that - only happy tears from now on!!! ♡

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    sister - yes, he does have that look in his eyes - he is ready to head out into the world and that's what it's all about, right!?! you've been through this too 3 times so you know for sure....

    lands of feminine mystique.....the only trouble is, which one(s) to choose!!! (haha) xoxo

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  11. I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your comment on my memoir blog. It means a lot!

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  12. rosaria, you are welcome♡

    you are so talented - i really hope you keep writing!

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  13. Boo hoo, I'm teary... Such a sweet post. I know your boy is going out into the world safe in the knowledge that mom is there if he needs her <3

    Congratulations!! And best wishes for a bright future :-)

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