Kenny Chesney once cautioned in song, ‘Don’t blink, you just might miss your babies growing,’ and was he ever right. In a few short weeks, both Leigh and I will bear witness to our respective sons’ graduations from college, and their entry into the ‘real world.’ We are proud and happy for them, to be sure, but honestly, we’re a little stunned as well. Where did the time go?
I swear, yesterday I was standing at the bus stop watching my five-year-old wave gleefully good-bye to me as he boarded the magical yellow chariot that would take him to an exciting new world that didn’t include me. He thrived and I adapted, staying connected with him through field days, reading weeks, and PTOs, even helping him with his homework. Middle school brought an entirely new set of challenges; lockers and changing classes were cause for some initial anxiety, but again, he settled in quickly. It was a little harder for me. Overwhelmed by 7th grade math, I threw in the homework towel and took to cheering encouragement from the sidelines of the kitchen table.
By high school, my baby’s twitching wings had started showing some serious flap; honors classes, sports, school trips, after-school jobs, girls. He was in a perpetual state of motion further accelerated by a driver’s license and an upgrade to horsepower, with an occasional pause to think about his future. To that end, we spent countless weekends and school vacations visiting prospective colleges, twenty-two in total, before choosing his top ten. We survived the dreaded essay writing and applications process, then all we could do was wait while offering fingers-crossed assurances that everyone would love him as much as his dad and I do.
Sure enough, they did, but ultimately his heart belonged to the University of South Carolina. His time there has truly been the best four years of his life…so far. He’ll soon discover that so many more wonderful experiences, incredible people, and character-building challenges await him. But time waits for no one, sang the Rolling Stones, so when my son crosses the stage to receive his diploma on May 6th, he will walk swiftly with purpose and pride, and with both beautiful blue eyes focused on the brilliant future ahead of him. I just hope he doesn’t blink.