Well, it's a bittersweet time at our house. Our children are growing up. Case in point:
This is my precious daughter and me at our very last Bearcat Madness, which is where the Ruston High football team and cheer groups introduce themselves to their adoring public on a Saturday morning just after the start of school and before football season. You see, this is my child's senior year.
It hurts me just to type it.
I forewarned her a couple of months ago that I would be crying through the entire school year. She will be on the field cheering, and I'll be in the stands watching her and crying like a toddler at naptime.
I'm incredibly happy for her, but as her mom, I can't help but think about all the "first times" as we go through the "last times." For example, she had her last first day of high school a couple of weeks ago. She cheered at her last jamboree last Friday. This is her last football season to cheer as a high school student. But while I witness all of these lasts, I remember all the firsts. I vividly remember her very first day of school as a kindergartener when she wouldn't let go of my legs and was crying her eyes out, saying, "Mommy, please don't go!" I still giggle when I think about her first time as a cheerleader in middle school, when she was so nervous she could hardly say her name out loud. I remember the first time she tied her shoes, after I showed her ONLY ONCE how to do it. I remember the first time she crawled, the first time she walked, the first time she drove (yikes!), the first time a boy picked her up for a date. People with grown children told me that "high school goes by so fast." In my limited understanding, I just thought, "how can four years go by that fast?" But I'm here to tell you, it really does.
I think I'm so sentimental because Emily is the only child I birthed, and she and I lived alone together - just the two of us - for eleven years. I've been there for everything. Every decision I made was based on her well-being, and I busted my rear-end to make sure she was taken care of, even when that meant working more than one job at a time, or making tremendous sacrifices. Now, to see the young woman she is becoming, it's all been worth it.
But this is it. It's the last time I make the rules, the last time I have a major stake in her decisions. I've told her for years that I try to throw her as much information as I can and hope some of it sticks. It makes me incredibly proud to hear other mothers, or teachers, or even principals tell me what a "wonderful young lady" Emily is. It shows me that at least some of what I've thrown out there has actually stuck. But that doesn't make it any easier to know that very soon I have to turn her loose to be a grown person with a schedule I don't know, to make decisions on her own, and spend time with people I've never met. She will no longer call me to let me know where she is and what time she'll be home. My eyes just welled up typing that line...
The point is it's the beginning of the end of her childhood. Just like any normal teenager, she says she can't wait to get out of high school, and all I can think is how I wish it would just slow down. But then again, I know that it's also the beginning of the beginning. And I do look forward to watching her accomplish things on her own without my help. To see where God takes her, and the wonderful things she will do in His name. I'm just incredibly grateful He allowed me to be this incredible kid's mom... even if it does mean I have to let her grow up.