Final exams are now behind us and YaYa’s gown now hangs in the spare bedroom awaiting the big day. It’s been a long journey up to this juncture in his education filled with angst and drama, struggle and lost sleep. More times than I can count, I have questioned my choice to move him to such a challenging academic environment, wondering if the bar was set too high for him. Today, like at the end of each of the past few years, I am filled with pride in him for his dedication to find his way. I know it will serve his future years well.
Still, I find myself repeating to myself “it’s only middle school.” Until now, I thought this was so that I didn’t make such a big deal of it that I’d have nothing left for high school graduation and college. But that’s not it at all. I now realize my reminding myself that this is only middle school graduation is my way of reassuring myself that he’s not leaving me empty-nested just yet.
We’ve been together, just he and I, almost since the day Tom died: supporting, comforting, and sometimes arguing. And although I would be happy to leave the stress of getting him to where-he-needs-to-be behind, I am not ready to let go of the where-we-are-right-now.
So, I embrace this moment and cherish the moments where I get to embrace my boy who is growing up way too fast. This is only “middle school” graduation. There are still four more years ahead of us.