When reading a book, every page adds to the story. As you flip through them, by the time you’re a few pages in, you’re vested and you need to know what will happen? How will it happen? Who will it happen too? There are many chapters that become a single story…and this week our family had a chapter end.
This week, our son graduated from high school. I know, I know…it’s but a single moment in a book FULL of moments in what I pray will be a successful life for him but…in this moment…I just want to stop and enjoy the pages we’ve read already.
First off…what an amazing 18 years this kid has had. He’s got so many friends and people who love him. I have met so many people this year for the first time who have told me what an outstanding young man he is. And he definitely is…but it’s not because of me, that’s for sure. Along the way, there have been so many people to commend for helping raise my son, from the coaches he’s had since he started playing intermediate sports to the teachers he had this year for the first time, every single one of these people have played a role in his life somehow. I cannot thank them enough for being the second tier of parents that have helped him shine when I wasn’t there. And trust me…I wasn’t there a lot. So for him to be the young man I think he is has taken a lot of work, not only from his mother and I…but also from a large group of people who have been around him since Day 1.
And then there is his mother. What an amazing woman this lady has been. Taking out the fact that she’s my wife, she has been the most incredible mom a young man could ask for. We often say that if I had been a single parent, our kids would probably be failing every class and would have all kinds of issues. This may or may not be true but I DO believe they would not be the people they are today with having her as the backbone of this family. While I am gone for weeks on end at any given time during the year, Stephanie has been there for them to talk to, for them to cry on and for them to love. I couldn’t have picked a better partner and she has done a remarkable job with Chris. He is becoming a remarkable man and a lot of that is her doing.
I’m not going to discount myself. I’m not just coasting on her coattails and doing nothing over here. I have played a role in his life. It might not be apparent right now but I hope I’ve instilled in him a good work ethic, a good sense of humor (with a dash of sarcasm) and some damn good looks. All of that should get him through for a few years at least. After all of that runs out…he’s on his own. But I figure…at least I didn’t put up an airball and have him looking like me back when I was a kid. He definitely got off better than I did in the looks department.
I remember the first time I had to take him to daycare. Stephanie couldn’t do it. The thought of leaving him with someone else was too much for her to bare. So I did it. I remember having a slight panic attack in the car as I went to leave, not wanting to leave the parking lot. Fortunately I can say that leaving him there did NOT scar him for life. If anything, it probably made him more well adjusted as he had to learn to fit in.
I remember the first time I we dropped him off at the Northern Kentucky Montessori School. It was mind blowing to hand him off to a group of teachers who would teach him so much. He would go to school there for 2 years. Such a wonderful group of teachers and so loving to him for that short time.
I remember walking him to school for first grade to the school where he would eventually graduate from. Our school is all-in-one from elementary to high school, all in the same building. So when you spend 12 years in one place, you get to know many people. And people get to know you. And whether you like it or not…you become a part of the community and, I would like to think in Chris’ case, the community has loved and accepted him.
Then for his senior year, this pandemic hits, knocking everything out of whack. No spring formal, no spring sports, no graduation. it’s hard to get to this point and not have those things. Will it matter in 10 years? Probably not. But right now? It’s everything. Not having that last couple of months with the people you’ve grown up with, had successes & failures with, laughed & cried with…it’s disappointing and sad and I know it’s not easy. But Chris has been great about it. I know he is disappointed and he’s told me that he’s had his moments. But overall? The kid has been handling all of this very well and I’m proud of him.
So now…we turn the page. On to the next chapter which will be amazing, I’m sure of it. College is where you get to learn who you are, what you want out of life and meet some of the people who will be with you forever. But before that page is turned, I just wanted to celebrate one more time all of those who have been along for the ride with Chris as he goes hurtling through life. Time doesn’t stop for anyone. Every person I ever met who has kids always say, “Enjoy it now because time goes fast.”
All I can say to that is….that ain’t no lie.
Thank you to everyone who has been there for the last 18 years. As a dad, there’s nothing I could’ve asked for more than my son having the support and love that he’s had from those outside of our home. It has paid off in more ways than you could know and I love you for it!