It’s really starting to settle in. The whole graduation and college thing. Before, we were so worked up about the process of graduation and planning an open house that I didn’t really have time to let all of it sink in.
It’s sinking in now.
18 years have come and gone. We started out not knowing what we were doing as parents. Feeling our way through it all, hoping we wouldn’t stumble along the way(we did now and again, but we got back up.) When you’re concentrating on the little moments, you sometimes miss the bigger ones. That’s parenting, though. If you could go back in time you’d tell your younger self all kinds of things(enjoy play time, and nap time, and don’t be so uptight, and put $100 back a month for college), but that’s not how it works. You can’t go back in time. You just have to live with the choices you’ve made and hope there are no regrets.
I have a couple, but not how I raised my children. They argue and nitpick at each other. There’s some petty whining now and again and disagreements about who is doing what chore, but they all love each other. They can sit at the kitchen table and make each other laugh like nobody’s business. They occasionally speak in their own language; secreted code that is revealed in various “vines” and weird Youtube channels. Movie and book references are strewn throughout the day, and harking back to nearly forgotten moments when they were kids that they seem to recall as if it were yesterday.
The dust has now settled on high school graduation. The last two years of going to school two hours from home have ended. Her stint at the prestigious Indiana Academy came and went, leaving great memories and lifelong friends to take with her for years to come. It was challenging for me to see her leave home at 16-years old, but she proved me wrong in that she handled it all with maturity and grace. We are now settling into the summer break before college. Work schedules have been made, appointments scheduled, and payment plans negotiated with what will be our daughter’s home for the next four years. Maybe we can all get away for a few days before the summer ends, but that aforementioned payment plan might not allow that.
So we just enjoy being together while we can, when we can. We’ll take the laughs and dinners around the dining room table as they come. Afternoon coffees, and Friday night movies. The bigger moments will come whether we’re ready for them or not. They’re inevitable. But those little moments, those are what build a life and a home. Those are what fill 18 years and make it seem as if they just blew by like a three-day weekend. Photo albums filled with memories trapped in chemicals and light prove I existed as a young dad wondering if I was doing the right things. Putting these words down prove I survived it and maybe even did right by my high school graduate.
I still don’t know a hell of a lot, but I’m getting closer to not worrying so much about it.