A few weeks ago, my high school junior went to our district’s senior recognition car parade.
When she got home, she said, “Well, I guess I’m a senior now.”
I still haven’t fully recovered from the moment early last school year when my new junior was talking about something pertaining to upperclassmen, and I thought, “Okay, so this doesn’t apply to you”—and then, “Oh my word, you ARE an upperclassman.”
I suddenly realize that my daughter is a senior
Now I’m getting emails referring to “your rising senior” and hearing my own daughter announce her senior status, and as if all that isn’t enough to take in on its own, a couple other emotion-bending facts are piggybacked on top of it. For one thing, she is my last baby, which means I am a high school senior mom for the second time and for the last time. And her big sister just became a college senior, which means I am also a college senior mom.
Just let me sit down for a minute.
I’ve been a senior mom before, but I’ve never been THIS kind of senior mom. All the moms of the class of 2021 are newbies, though, really, because no matter what we may have done before, we haven’t done this kind of senior year before. We don’t even know what kind of year “this kind” is going to be.
Here are the things we know about this senior year
But here’s what we do know, without doubt and without question:
1. We know we love our brand-new seniors. This isn’t hanging in the balance. This isn’t subject to governmental orders or supply-and-demand. This love cannot be masked.
2. We know that we will have moments that sit us down hard and moments that lift us to our feet.
3. We know we are proud of our kids…not only of what they’ve done, but of the effort they’ve put into the doing. Not only of who they are, but of who they are becoming.
4. We know we will cry, clap, cheer, celebrate, mourn, worry, and hope. (Probably all within the same 24 hours.)
5. We know we are leaning on our mom friends…the ones who have done this before and the ones who are doing it with us now.
6. We know we will look for ways to honor our children.
7. We know we are still our seniors’ safe place and their fixed point.
8. We know we will think back on all the hard work and sacrifices that brought our grads-to-be to this point.
9. We know we’ll feel a little jolt every time we see a reference to “senior parents” and realize (anew) that that’s us.
10. We know we will wonder: where did the time go? How is this all going to work out? How will we pay for that? Will they be OK? Will I be OK? When did my baby turn into this incredible young adult?
11. We know we will be excited for our kids’ futures and grateful we have front-row seats to see those futures unfold.
12. We know we will hold on and let go, over and over again.
13. We know that when someone asks how we’re doing, the real answer is never going to come down to just one word.
14. We know we will do a lot of waiting and watching.
15. We know there will be struggles, disappointments, joys, thrills, defeats, triumphs, failures, and successes.
16. We know we will appreciate—in a new way—what a gift the lasts can be. The last first day. The last game. The last concert. The last competition. The last dance.
17. We know we are thankful we have the privilege of being part of our kids’ lives at this stage.
18. We know we were wrong when we looked at our kids as newborns and thought we couldn’t possibly love them more than we did at that moment. Because in this moment, we absolutely do.
I don’t know what the year ahead with my seniors is going to look like, but I do know this: I know I want to make the most of it. I know I want to choose to look forward to it. And I know that a year from now, when I’m looking back on this year, there’s every chance I’ll be saying I couldn’t have known how unforgettable it would be.
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Elizabeth Spencer is mom to two daughters (one teen and one young adult) who regularly dispense love, affection, and brutally honest fashion advice. She’s been married for 25 years to an exceedingly patient guy she picked up in church. She writes about faith, food, and family (with some occasional funny thrown in) at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and avoids working on her 100-year-old farmhouse by spending time on Facebookand Twitter.