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Bittersweet.

Note: This post is part of Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs, where all the cool kids are hanging out. (Moms are welcome over there!) I *might* even have a column called “Teen Angst” there. Welcome to my visitors from DB; thanks for stopping in!

As I left to walk the dog the other day, I noticed that the mail truck had just stopped at my house. I grabbed the mail and discovered that the younger boy received his freshman schedule. Both of my “babies” will be in high school this year. I can’t believe it.

I put the mail in the garage and Roxie and I set off on our journey to the park, which is our long walk route. I didn’t wear my iPod like I usually do; sometimes I just enjoy thinking and really paying attention to what’s around us, taking in the scenery.

As we walked, I thought about the boys. The younger boy is so very excited about going to high school this year; it’s nice to see him looking forward to school, because he hasn’t in such a very long time. He’s looking forward to the change in venue AND to the brand-new high school he’ll be attending. He’s also ready to earn his guitar lessons back, which I had to pull him from due to some grade issues in April. He has chosen two electives which we’re both thrilled about, German I and Introduction to Foods. I think he chose German both because he is truly interested in it AND because he’ll be able to practice it with his brother and me. The foods class? He LOVES to cook. It will be interesting to see this interest blossom over the next couple of years.

The older boy has just come off of a hellish Junior year, and in nine-and-a-half months he’ll be graduating. When I was his age, I was engaged. (To his father. No worries! It all worked out!) He currently has no girlfriend, but he’s working on it. He is looking forward to this year because he’s got some cool electives (like Auto Mechanics) that he hadn’t had room in his schedule for until now. And hopefully, he’ll be working. I’ve read that teens his age do start to pull away from the family a little bit–even when everyone gets along just fine–as a natural part of their mental preparation to move on. I feel that happening sometimes and even though I expect it, it makes me a little sad.

I try to focus, during all of this growing up that’s going on, on the positives. We have raised super kids. They’ll be great when they eventually go out on their own, and if they need help all they’ll have to do is call. Jim and I have a whole lot of life on our own that we look forward to, including some traveling if all goes well down the road. We have conducted our marriage (and worked on it!) in such a way that we still deeply love each other–and, in fact, are still in love–and we look forward to being just the two of us again when the time is right.

I’m not normally a weepy, sentimental type of mom, bemoaning how I don’t want my kids to ever grow up. In fact, Jim and I have taken our duty as parents very seriously; our mission from the very beginning was to have a couple of awesome kids, have a great time with them while raising them to be loving, caring, productive, independent human beings, and then…get them out on their own. And then? Yippeeeee!

Yeah, that’s easy to say when they’re little. Now? Ooh. That’s a tough one. I’m starting to have the teensiest bit of anxiety at the thought of them leaving our home for another place to live on their life journeys, because I happen to like my kids alot. And that could be considered amazing, because one of them is 14 and in the throes of finding out who he is as a teenager and what his place is among his friends and at school, and the other one is 17, on the cusp of his Senior year, trying to get a job, trying to search for college, and wishing that a car would magically appear before his eyes since he can’t seem to make money fast enough (yet) to buy one for himself. Those kinds of issues can make teenagers a little moody and hard to enjoy. But I still like them. They’ve grown into amazing young men, as you know from reading the Scrawl.

On my walk, I saw some small children playing on the swingsets, slides, and climbers. Their parents were right there at their sides, playing with them, talking to them, encouraging them. Juice boxes were being opened, some kids were giggling, some kids were calling “Mom!! Watch me!”, and some were running up to their parents, hugging them just because they felt the urge. I wanted to stop for a moment and tell those parents that I hoped they would take a moment or two to really absorb what was happening, because it goes by so fast.

So. Fast.

Photo copyright: Aunt Julesie @ House of Jules

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • MaNiC MoMMyβ„’ July 31, 2009, 11:34 am

    I get that way too. But TWO in high school!! That's got to make anyone teary!

    (And Melisa, come on, you're creative — call them something other than The younger boy and the older boy! LOL!)

  • WeaselMomma July 31, 2009, 11:37 am

    The beginning of a new era is starting. It's all good.

  • House of Jules July 31, 2009, 11:53 am

    Oof. This was a rough one to get through and that photo killed me. Seems like yesterday we were in Batavia and I was making them change tshirts in the parking lot. I can't believe how OLD they are, but what I can believe is how great a job you guys have done raising them. I've always know you & J would raise them to be great people, and it's really exciting to see my favorite boys in the world maturing into my favorite men. You done good, sista.

  • Melisa with one S July 31, 2009, 12:01 pm

    Manic: Nope, younger boy and older boy it is! I've got enough to worry about without giving them different names at this point. πŸ™‚

    WM: I know, I know. I just had a moment.

    Julesie: It was a rough one to write! And I forgot to give you photo credit: sah-ree!!

    PHOTO TAKEN BY HOUSE OF JULES

    And yes, they ARE old, aren't they? But I'm not.

  • Bad Momma July 31, 2009, 12:17 pm

    I'm starting to get that way when I see a baby. My older 2 are just in middle school. *sigh*

  • Andrew's Daddies July 31, 2009, 1:43 pm

    I always try to keep this in mind. We find ourselves rushing to get through the next milestone of our son. We need to sit back and enjoy them because very soon, they will be leaving and starting their lives without you.
    I hope we are able to do what's right for our son and he makes the effort to see us often when he is out there in the world.

  • Mags July 31, 2009, 2:04 pm

    I'm not even a Mom and this post made me weepy. The addition of the little boy photo was just the icing on the cake! πŸ™‚

    You and Jim are 2 of the best parents I've ever…read about? I think that of all the kids going into college next fall, your son will be one of the most successful and well liked. Just imagine how fun it will be to watch him find his place in the world, make a difference, fall in love and have babies! And THEN pass on the love and lessons the two of you have instilled in him.

    I can't wait to read your blog once they're both out of the house. πŸ˜‰

  • Jason July 31, 2009, 2:12 pm

    wow…I keep joking with the oldest that he's only got 10 more years of his cushy life and then he's on the street. I'm sure when the time gets closer I'll get all weepy about it too, but those are worries for another time.

    Enjoy your last year with 2 at home. But judging by my parents, an empty nest isn't quite as bad as one would think. It sucks when I try to call on a Friday night and they're out while we're sitting at home…

  • seashore subjects July 31, 2009, 2:16 pm

    Hubby and I always joke about when we are alone. But now that teen is starting HS, I don't find it quite as amusing (and we still have a 5yo)!

  • Mrs4444 July 31, 2009, 2:24 pm

    I'm in the same boat, as you know. I think when Kyle leaves, Mr4444 is going to fall into a deep depression–he'll miss him so much. I think it will be a smoothish transition, though, because Kyle says he want to start out at UWGB and live at home. Works for me! πŸ™‚

  • Meeko Fabulous July 31, 2009, 3:45 pm

    I need to call my mom.

  • Tom July 31, 2009, 3:48 pm

    Yeah, they do grow up much faster than you could imagine. You spend every day hunkered down, running, scrambling and fighting to make it all work… and then you lift your head up, and suddenly they're grown and doing their own thing.

    But you've done well and can be proud of your boys – and of your own parenting. You've trained them up in the way they should go.

    I hope we've done an adequate job with our daughters; we have very little time left with all of them home.

    BTW — I took a year of German in high school, and still remember most of it ("wiederholen sie in dem pausem nach."), though I don't get to practice it often. Everyone else I know took Spanish.

  • PJ Mullen July 31, 2009, 4:33 pm

    Great post, I really like your parenting philosophy and will probably steal some of it as my little one grows πŸ™‚

    Last night my wife and I were organizing our thoughts on procuring big boy furniture. I said we should invest in something that he could use until he' ready to move out. I didn't realize what I'd said until I saw my wife looking back at me with a tear in her eye. The planner in me needs to watch what I say a little more closely.

    BTW, taking German in HS is brave of him. My wife is 100% German and I wish I spoke some myself. Her whole family is fluent and I feel lost sometimes at family gatherings. What little French I remember isn't very helpful πŸ™‚

  • Isabella July 31, 2009, 5:10 pm

    Great post…even though it made me tear up. I won't hold that against you.

    πŸ™‚

  • JennyMac July 31, 2009, 7:03 pm

    Wow…just reading along and then thinking about your words…and our little 2 year old boy. Thanks for making we well up!!!! Its a great post. I won't show my Mom or she will cry her eyes out.

  • Anonymous July 31, 2009, 8:50 pm

    OK, this has done it for me, I'm in tears. I remember when you and your sista were this age and we knew you two were outstanding. But to know the boys are growing up so fast and so well it just kills me. You and J have been great parents and it shows. Now I hope all your dreams come true.
    Love
    Grandma W

  • surprised mom July 31, 2009, 10:55 pm

    Melisa, we must have been on the same nostalgic brainwave. I was in your position last year, with both in high school. I had hoped it would go on longer than it did.
    Enjoy the older boy's senior year, there are so many memories that you (his parents) and he will make, that will stand out as mile markers.
    You've got two great kids and a great husband. I think this will help you let go when the time comes.

  • Tara R. August 1, 2009, 12:23 am

    I so get this. My oldest is living away from home most of the year at college and my baby, BABY, just turned 16.

    As much as I adore my kids, I'm kinda looking forward to that empty nest too, and being just me and the Hubs again.

    Just remember, even if your babies are living away from home, they are still your babies.

  • Momo Fali August 1, 2009, 12:35 am

    I am crying.

    Das ist nicht gut.

  • Michelle August 1, 2009, 2:24 am

    Wow, I'm at that other end of the spectrum with my first starting kindergarten. But ohhhh I'm not looking forward to the good-byes.

    Really, engaged? Would you believe I was, too? Thought so. Fortunately I broke up with him a month after I started college — much to my parents' joy!

    Here's hoping they both have great years!

  • Nap Warden August 1, 2009, 3:41 am

    I can't take it…they just keep growing up! I have tears (slow down kiddos)…

  • Heather August 1, 2009, 7:23 pm

    I was lucky enough to get to spend quite a bit of time with you, talking about parenting while we were walking through the American Girl store, remember?

    I took away so much from our convo, but mostly, I took away what an incredible, and dedicated set of parents you & Jim are. I know you have to be so proud if the boys; they truly sound like awesome young men!

  • Sue August 3, 2009, 1:50 am

    OK, that is the CUTEST picture!!!!