The last of the first days.
I am preparing for tomorrow, the first of the last "first day of school" at our two son's respective schools. One, finishes his senior year of high school, the other the last of middle school. With minor doubts of either continuing on to further schooling, I see this as a beginning to an end. The end of fussing over first day outfits, haircuts and preparation. Of preparing them to be focused, to pay attention to play by the rules necessary to negotiate public school.
Our oldest believes that turning eighteen in a couple of months will bring on miraculous changes enhanced by his graduation in nine months. He seems to see it as the time when the universe will unleash its supreme generosity upon him and all will be delightful. We have explained, pointed out, alliterated and still, even though he says he "gets it" he doesn't. He doesn't believe like I didn't believe. Like generations upon generations did not believe. Because it is our duty as arrogant teenagers to be firm in our convictions we know better simply because we are part of a newer age. But he doesn't and he proves this by continuing to make astoundingly, frustratingly sophomoric decisions.
Our youngest, having had his body occupied by that of a forty-something-year-old since the age of five, believes with no uncertainty that we are wrong about everything and that we have set out to ruin his life. No matter how many times we have explained that we have consistently, his father and I, been working on the skills he will need to get the hell out of our space as quickly and efficiently as possible while still maintaining a healthy relationship with us, he believes we do it all for our mirth at his expense.
I love my sons. I love that one is kind and seemingly without malice and capable of going on right on loving no matter how ticked off he gets. I love that the other is headstrong and focused when he sets his sights on something, despite his arrogance. I hope that I have given them enough that has sunk in that when needed, they have the information to navigate the situation. And even though one will still have four years to go after this year, the feeling that they are untying the strings from us while we are loosening up the apron string from the other end, it is bittersweet.
There will still be firsts. We will be be older then. We will have less if any of a say in the matter. Perhaps, despite our love they will leave us behind never looking back. I will be okay with that, as long as they know we will still be here, worrying about them, caring about their future.