Endings Are Really Beginnings

Baby Boy dressed as a Court Jester for Halloween in 1996.  Named Class Clown for the Class of 2013:  Foreshadowing?
Baby Boy dressed as a Court Jester for Halloween in 1996. Named Class Clown for the Class of 2013: Foreshadowing?

I know. It sounds like a Graduation platitude and maybe it is, but it’s helping me get through. My oldest, my baby boy, is graduating from high school in two days. I am, as usual, like a push-me/pull-you from Dr. Dolittle. One minute, I can’t wait for him to go, the next I’m in tears because my baby is all grown up. Where did the time go?

It feels like just yesterday that I was picking up my graduation dress from my friend Brandi Brothers who made it especially for the big day. It feels like just yesterday when one of my friends dropped a bombshell on me the morning of graduation. A confession of sorts, that rendered me speechless and unable to help, but caused me to worry about her all through the ceremony and the long party after. That’s the problem with being a peer counselor, you carry other people’s burdens around with your own. But you can read about that in the senior year book of Gridley Girls. Let’s get back to Baby Boy.

It’s been a big year of growth for BB, but not just going up a size in pant length. BB has really grown into a nice young man. Don’t worry, he’s still enough of a PITA (read the book if you don’t remember what that means) that I’m not turning into a braggy mom. He’s grown up enough that he has had talks with his dad because he doesn’t think he helps me enough around the house. I know. The record player in my head screeched at that one too. My husband has three inches and 70 pounds on BB and he dared to discuss his dad’s workload with him?  And darned if it didn’t work. That man o’ mine is a wee bit more helpful now.

Yesterday, BB did the dishes. When I asked him to. The first time.

On Sunday, when I had to wake him early to go to church (in the summer, services are only at 9:00) for his Graduation service (which I cried all the way through) he got up. I didn’t have to beg, cajole, guilt or physically pull him out of bed. Baby Girl was another matter. I had to hide all her pillows and blankets to get her out of bed.

Yesterday afternoon, BB got on his computer and went through Baby Girl’s grades with her. More record screeching in my head. This is something I have to do with BG and she yells at me in her snotty teenage voice on most occasions. Of course, when he did it, she just talked to him. Like an adult.

Like two normal adults.

It’s just one long record scratch in your head now, huh? Crazy!

How is it possible that my disrespectful, ungrateful, spoiled, slacking boy of a man really is the sensitive, handsome, smart, capable, responsible young man I’ve raised him to become? Is it really possible that every generation goes through all the same things with different props? We passed notes. They text. So much is different, yet so much is exactly the same.

I’ve worked hard to keep my mother alive for my children since she passed away almost twelve years ago. One of the things I’ve told them about is the note my mother left me on the entry table when I got home from school at the end of my senior year. It was my one and only skip day of my life. We didn’t have school sanctioned Senior Skip Days back then. Somehow – only in Gridley – mom found out and left me this note since I got home late:

Dear Star Border,

While I know your tan is important to your vanity, we are a family and as such, we need to help others around the house to prepare for YOUR Graduation Party. Please do the dishes.

Love,

Mom

I wish I had saved that note. It’s burned in my memory forever though and sometimes I think that’s even better. I remember looking at it and laughing out loud. Hard. She came into the room and gave me her best smiley mole face (yes, there are different types of mother’s mole faces) and laughed with me. I don’t remember if I still had to do the dishes or not but I remember that note. I remember when she didn’t think I was pulling my weight, she called me the Star Border. I remember the first time she had to explain to me that it meant that I behaved like I paid rent to them to cook and clean for me and that since I was paying no such rent, I could not behave like a “Star Border”.

Hey, do you think I could get my husband to pay me rent as a “Star Border”? Shh, just kidding. Don’t tell him I said that!

My mother won’t be here for Baby Boy’s graduation but everyone else will be. We will celebrate for her. We will smile up at Heaven, grateful for our faith to keep us going and remind us that she’s watching. And we will go forward, just as she would want us to. Because we are not Star Borders. Because we know that all endings are just the beginning of something new.

Y.A.L.

Mom, giving me the smiley mole face as I was teaching her how to use her first digital camera.  In 1996, as always, that made her a techie pioneer.  Cutting edge to 'til the day she died.
Mom, giving me the smiley mole face as I was teaching her how to use her first digital camera. In 1996, as always, that made her a techie pioneer. Cutting edge ’til the day she died.

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