Monday, June 21, 2010

Another Milestone - Another Deep Breath

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

For those of you with children, or those of you who observe others with children, please know/recall/try to forget how the senior year of high school can often be one of the most difficult. Oh, sure, I remember the nights walking the floors calming a crying baby, or sticking yet another spoonful of food into their mouths. Not to mention how many diapers I changed awaiting both the day and their never ending energy to finally abate.

But as I look back, tending their appetite, cleanliness, and making yet another batch of Play-doh seemed much simpler. Defined. I didn't have to add in the deep emotion that arrives when it's time to launch them, making certain I get them to the 18year milestone. Experience the persistent worry that my husband and I have provided them with the necessary tools to create their own paths. Often, a tough mask covers my angst.

Last fall I said to my youngest son, Ian, "Get ready to not like me." Having had experience with his two brothers before him, I added. "Remember, it's all for you."

A little guilt never hurts.

"Much to accomplish this fall semester. I won't do any of it for you, but I will ride your ass until you get it all done."

Threat experience works, too.

His list:
Take SAT/ACT tests
Choose five schools to send applications
Fill out the applications
Write the required essays
Create a resume for college aps
Get References
Write thank yous
Pass high school.

I have to be honest. Maintaining the necessary vigor to get through this with the third child makes me glad I didn't have more. I doubt I could muster the energy or strength to get through another one, nor provide their just deserve.

But no excuse for not carrying the whip for Ian.

Alas, the year sped by. The whip, lost somewhere in the house, and there we were, Graduation Day.

Oldest brother and new sister-in-law joined the party.

A tired, relieved mom.

Two days of cooking for the party and last time the Orange and Black (school colors) tablecloths will come out except for Halloween.
Pies, instead of a cake. Rhubarb, Blueberry Rhubarb, Buttermilk, Apple, and a Blueberry Crisp.

How can this time have gone by so quickly?
And the next stop on his life trail?
Roll Tide.
His leaving my home in the fall already causing my heart to seize up, but that's a story for another day much too soon.


  1. congratulations to both of you! I've watched my nieces and nephews go through senior years and I saw from the sidelines the stress involved for everyone. Kudos to you - a big accomplishment!

  2. You make me just three years, I'll be there...and I hope that I will handle with as much grace, love and beauty as you have! Wonderful post...beautiful are an inspiration to me! Love, Janine XO

  3. Julie what a beautiful woman and wonderful mother you are. I am sure your sons are just as wonderful and will do you proud just as you have made them so proud to be their mom. (don't ask me how I know, I just do)
    Congratulations to everyone....
    Happy Summer sweetie......:-) Hugs

  4. Congrats!!! To you both!!!! It does happen way to quickly!! I now have 5 grands and I just watched the 2 oldest graduate from high school!! Talk about seizing!! LOL!!

  5. So well said. . . and so well done! He's a truly wonderful young man. I can't wait to see where he goes next!

  6. This pain will pass and will actually heal...but you know that because it happened with the older ones. Life is rich and full and that is why it is hard.

  7. I totally understand and I only had two! But, it's all worth it, in the end, right?! Congrats to both of you! Just love all of the pics! You look fabulous, and "none the worse for the wear"! lol Wishing you a lovely summer in that hammock", you deserve it, cher! Cheers!

  8. I sometimes think the scariest part is the "What do I do now" part....My favorite quote is from the bull rider Ty Murry (sp?)..."You are never completely ready....sometimes it is just your turn"...I'm thinking...You go girl...your turn...

  9. OMG, I've got a lump in my throat.

    What happened to culinary school? He's such a great kid, he's going to be fine no matter what. And so will you.

  10. Don't you have a greater appreciation, now, for what your own mother went thru raising you and your siblings? Raising a person is just the most awesome and scarey job in the world, and one that can never be taken lightly by anyone involved in the process. You did good, Julie, and it looks like your three boys did as well. Congratulations to all!

    My son-in-law and all his family are Alabama fans, so the grandsons are already outfitted in hats and shirts at ages 4 and 7. His front door is even crimson! Not being a football fan, I'm just grateful that he's not a Tennessee fan as orange is one of my least favorite colors!

  11. I was really hoping you would tell me that it was all downhill for me in a few years when I start dealing wiht the older sons and daughters. Ok, maybe I was wishing.

    Yea Bama by the way...

  12. All I can do is spend the rest of my life apologizing to my mother for the hell I put her through during my high school years. She tried to crack that whip and teach me to set the bar high. I tried to live up to that standard and also do all the things she would hate that I needed to explore. I drove her insane and I appreciate the determination she had to find a way to remember she loved me despite my rebellion. Mothers are saints - I'm sure your family will repay your efforts for a long time to come.

  13. Congratulations, Ian! Congratulations, Mom! I love the straightforward, "Get ready to not like me."So true. And it is such a tough year, especially now. You have earned some breathing space. Inhale, exhale. Repeat.
    Well done!

  14. I completely understand this, Julie. By the time my youngest had put Grade 12 behind him, I had had more than enough. And in fact, we discovered that high school wasn't completely behind him, what with a couple of courses that needed upgrading. Had to rev up the engines again, which was hard for both of us.

    You are, I am sure, someone with way more energy and persistence than I was - at least about getting your kids to stay the course. Congratulations - it is a hard job and a long one and one of the most important things you could ever do for anybody. I wish I had read your line' get ready to not like me' a few years ago - it might have helped me to crack that whip a bit more effectively.

    Handomse boy you have there. The youngest is pretty hard to let go of, even with all the practice you've had.

  15. Congratulations to both of you for surviving. I love the fact he chose a SEC school.

    It was a beautiful post but I am just one of those observers of people with children.

  16. Just had a grandson graduate and he too heads off to college in the fall. His sister will then be in her 4th year of college! He will be farther away, than she was, so it's a new experience for his parents!


  17. I love the "get ready to not like me" part. Too hard to imagine the youngest leaving the nest. But oh how proud y'all must be!! Great school! (but I'm a Gator) Great job Ian!

  18. Wow ... times flies, eh??

    The sister-in-law is stunningly beautiful. Tell her a fellow blogger said so.

    As you pass YET another milestone, I wish you lots of love, laughter, and many happy memories to come.

    Hey, before you know it, your time is ALL your own, your children aren't children anymore and, when you see them leading great lives and making you proud, you'll be able to say "let the great times roll..."

    Hats of to you and the little achiever :)

  19. Thanks for drawing a word picture of a passage so many of us experience. Beautifully done!!!

  20. Crazy how life goes by soooo fast!

  21. Congratulations to the handsome graduate!! Thanks for stopping by to see you!! xx

  22. Oh lordy, I must be hormonal, coz I'm crying this week over everything from Toy Story to spilled cat food to this post.

    I remember the heart-seizing moments at high school and college graduations. Next year I'll have my daughter's grad school.

    Empty nest syndrome is REAL, and I know it doesn't mean much to you now, but it really DOES get easier. Takes a long time, but it does, I promise!

  23. Congratulations, Julie and Bob.You have done a great job with all three. I am sure there has not been any area you have not introduced them too. That has always impressed me. From the cotillion to the baseball field, from the church to the Scouts, to music lessons and batting practice, traveling here and abroad and chaperoning school and scout and church events, relax and know that you have done your jobs well.

  24. My, my. Ian is so handsome. His baby picture shot is adorable too, so it's no wonder. Of course, all your boys are good looking, and with you and Bob, again, it's no wonder.

    I feel your pain, sister. But as others have said, you've done a super job of raising them all to be responsible adults. And they seem to enjoy life too, which I think counts as much or more than any of the rest. Hats off to you guys.

  25. Congrats to the grad and his folks! I'm a high school teacher, so about 50 of my "cherubs" graduate every year. Plus, I've gone through this twice with my gals. Enjoy your will fly fast! BTW, dropped by from Words of Wisdom. They've got a great gig going, don't they?

  26. It is such a bitter-sweet time and you voiced it so well. Wow - what a cliche to say it went way to fast, but with mine at 23 & 27, I can say it went way too fast!

    That last year we'll call hell year. :-)
    I like how you warned him. Nothing could have prepared me for my youngest daughter's senior year, however.

  27. Congrats to Ian and to you for surviving your third HS senior year. I'm right there with you taking deep breaths as my oldest daughter graduated from HS last weekend. And like you, I'm afraid that the summer is going to end much too quickly and I worry that I didn't teach her all she needs to know. This is such a bittersweet time - and it's taking me a bit by surprise. {{hugs}}

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  29. I love seeing the pictures. You look awesome! Another cutie of a son, and all that food!

    What a year this has been for you. That you're still on your feet and smiling is a testament to your strength. I hope this summer is full of love and fun and happiness.

    I can hardly wait until you are able to unleash all that's you onto your writing.

  30. Congratulations to you and to Ian!

  31. My eyes are already swollen nearly shut tonight from bad news about a friend, but I'll be damned if you didn't manage to wring another few tears out of me with this one.

    Well done, Mom.

  32. I only had one son, so I cannot imagine you doing what you've done THREE times!! Kudos to you, I'm sure you've done a magnificent job with all 3 of your boys. :-)

  33. Aw, congrats to both of you! You've got so much to be proud of.....and just think of those tailgating parties you'll get to go to in the fall!

  34. 5 college apps! One of my cousins only sent in one application back in the day. She was her class valedictorian and wanted to go to Stanford so badly ... and they rejected her (not enough exctracurricular activities)! They told her to go to a JC for a year and reapply, which she did, but she was crushed initially.

    I have no children of my own, so I can only imagine how it feels to have brought a tiny thing that can't even hold its head up from utter helplessness to being a functional member of society (given my lack of patience, that's probably a good thing). I have nothing but admiration for people who can do that job.

    Roll Tide Roll! I hope he can get you tickets to the games :-)

  35. Congrats on the graduation!

    I try to convince myself that I don't have to worry about these emotions for a long time, because my boys are so small. But I know that the time will pass in a blink of an eye, and too soon, I will be watching my little ones launch. Agh, I get choked up just thinking about it.

  36. 知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。......................................................................

  37. What an awesome day. Hang in there!


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