The Universe or God of Heat Waves must be smiling on me. I’m not ready for Finn’s senior year. I’m taking the school cancellation as a reprieve to collect myself. I’ve been in denial. Well not really, but I have been stuffing emotions like a chipmunk until this evening when at a stop light the dam broke and I burst into tears as Donna Summer sang McArthur Park on Sirius 70s on 7. (Don’t judge.)
Something about the cake in the rain and never having the recipe again pierced me to the core even though I never baked a cake in my life. I do eat them and I am pretty sure I don’t even know what that song is about but this is no time for metaphors.
My outburst happened before I knew school was cancelled. The same school I thought started Wednesday not Tuesday. The miscalculation left me running around like a crazy person cleaning, going to Staples and otherwise pleading with my boys to organize their rooms because… SCHOOL WAS STARTING!
Anyway, I digress. This senior thing is hard; it’s happy and exciting and – sorry folks, pretty much worse than Kindergarten drop off.
I keep going back in my head to this woman I worked with 11 years ago. Finn was in Kindergarten and Dylan still working his way out of diapers. Every time I met her for a meeting at her desk she’d ask how the boys were and click her tongue, shake her head and say, “It’s going to go by sooooo fast.”
My indoor voice would say, ‘Lady I just graduated from not coming to work with spit-up on my sweater to the handprint on boobs and backside stage and I probably won’t wear white pants for the next decade so can I JUST ENJOY THEM.’
In real life, I smiled and seethed in the same way you do when the total stranger touches your pregnant belly in the checkout of Stop&Shop. I’m not totally sure why work lady bothered me so. I suppose if I still worked with her I would have to grudgingly tell her she was right.
Wasn’t I just chasing Buzz Lightyear through the house? Running around every school morning with one shoe on looking for my work badge that Dylan hid in his toy box while shrieking “we’re late for school!” only to find Finn six feet up in the air in the front-yard tree because that is naturally where you wait for your maniac mother.
As someone who writes messages about change and transition for a living, I am not sure how I missed the transformation before we got here. There were visible signs after all, like “Hey mom, you’re so short you could be my head rest,” or when I would come home and not recognize the 6’3, 250 pound man in the distance walking the dog and think, “Who the hell is walking Snowball?…oh, it’s Finn.”
The truth is, I have loved every beautiful, messy stage we have moved though together and I am looking forward to next steps. The things we do together as mom and son have evolved, of course. I don’t have to get him off to school anymore; I do have to wait up for him and worry. We don’t watch Disney Channel anymore but I do get Twitter DMs featuring, SNL, Jimmy Fallon or some outlandish tweet and I relish them.
And now that I’ve had time to think and he is not a senior in my mind until this Thursday, I’ve embraced the change. This year is another beginning – a time for big decisions and new choices – a time to fly solo and let go. I know he knows I’ll be cheering the loudest from the sidelines.
Ready or not, here we go!
Patty Norris Lubold is a wife, mom, writer and corporate communications professional living in Western Massachusetts and raising her two boys 17 and 13 with her husband, Mark