Paul had his senior night for basketball last night which means I have another child at that age. That age of not knowing what’s next and celebrating all that he is leaving. Senior year…the year of lasts, yet the year of “what’s next”s too. This is my fourth child going through this phase, so I am viewing it through a different lens than in the past.
My first child was the one who had to suffer the most. I was clueless of what his future held and I felt a need to share all of my anxiety with him directly or indirectly. I have apologized profusely for my ignorance and he has forgiven me. The second one came around quickly and she was so focused that I knew she was headed on her way without any input from me. The third was a little more unclear, but she headed out with a good attitude. As I face the “what’s next” questions with Paul as he approaches this season, I also have a huge question to ask the first three….How Did You Do That? I see their lives and sincerely wonder.
How did you do that? How did you know that you wanted to major in Neuroscience when you were only 17? How did you get the courage to ride your bike across the United States? How did you have the nerve to go to Time Square to watch the ball drop alone on New Year’s Eve? How did you study abroad, date via the internet, travel to Israel? How did you get a good grade in a subject I’ve never heard of, graduate with two bachelor degrees in three years, or go camping alone? How did you ask for a raise, teach surfing, or open your home to strangers? How did you go on mission trips, learn to play the ukelele, or write a song? How did you know how to comfort a child, fix a computer or weave a basket?
My kids have done all of this on their own. When they walked onto that stage at graduation, I wasn’t clear about what they had learned or if they were prepared for the future. But they did all of the above. Was it something they learned at school or home or was it simply inside of them all along? We can’t see what is inside of them by looking at their report card or counting the number of friends at their graduation party. When they graduate high school we don’t know who they are and they don’t either, but I am sure glad that my oldest three have allowed me along for the ride as they found out.
Paul’s future is unclear just as all of my children’s’ futures were during their high school senior year. As I am a bit sad to witness Paul’s lasts of high school, I am thrilled to look forward to his future.