Last night I took my oldest son to the 5th grade graduation PTA pool party at the YMCA. Aside from the fact that the DJ's obviously did not have children and played several songs absolutely inappropriate for two hundred eleven year olds, it was an enjoyable experience.
My once ten pound, eleven ounce baby boy now almost looks me in the eye. My sweet toddler who once followed Mommy everywhere now seeks out his friends at the pool or the park instead of staying close by my side. It kills me, letting him go but I know he needs to develop independence and form relationships on his own.
As I sat in a corner in a lounge chair pretending to read, I observed my boy in his pre-teen environment. Just like any mom, I was pleased to see that he was well-liked and as much as he was a follower he was also a leader, not afraid to do his own thing. I couldn't help but think that so far we have done our job well.
So, if I am so proud of the young man he is becoming, why am I so sad to see this school year come to a close?
The teacher part of me absolutely can not wait for Thursday, when we bid our students farewell for two and a half months for a well deserved summer vacation. The mom in me says no, it can't end because if it does my baby boy will no longer be my baby but a middle schooler.
Oh, how time flies.
Raising boys has been an adventure I hadn't expected. From the time I purchased that first little blue sleeper to the last baseball bat I just spent way too much money on, I had no idea that being a mom to boys would be so rewarding. or so challenging...
I would be lying if I didn't admit that once upon a time I cried when I found out I wasn't having the little girl I always dreamed of. But, after eleven years and two sons later, I am so thankful that the Big Guy had my back on this.
Over time I have learned that it is a gift to be charged with raising a son. The work I do will determine the kind of men they will become. The weight of that knowledge can be overwhelming at times. I want so much for my sons and not the usual money or power. I want them to be good husbands and fathers, to measure success by the relationships they maintain. I pray for them to be strong in spirit and giving in nature. Of course, I want them to accomplish things academically and I am proud to cheer them on at each and every ball game. That's not enough though. I want them to learn to work for their academic success and be proud in their accomplishments without being prideful. They learn to throw a ball, hit a double or catch a pop fly at the same time they learn to respect their coaches, be tolerant and supportive of their teammates and how to win- and lose- graciously.
I am not at all happy that my babies are growing up but I am so proud of the young men they are becoming- individuals with personalities and interests all their own. At the end of the week, when one moves up to intermediate school and the other enters middle school, I will probably be just a little bit sad. That's just the way things are going to be.
Of course, I will then remember that summer vacation has finally arrived and I will put on my bathing suit, head to the beach and all will be right in the world.