I recently revisited my old high school to see a talent show put on by my son's elementary school. It started with an adorable first grader singing "DoReMiFaSoLaTe" and continued with a fourth grader who sang a beautiful rendition of Taylor Swift's "Eyes Open" from The Hunger Games. And, of course, what kind of talent show would it be without a magic show?
Walking into that school, I felt like a teenager all over again. Once I stepped foot inside the halls of my old high school, every memory, good and bad, came crashing back to me in an instant. I remember my first day as a freshman feeling so cool. After all, I was in high school now. The big time. I think it took all of two days to realize that although I was in high school, I was far from being cool. Because let's face it, no student is officially cool until you're a senior!
All you have to do is walk in to any school from elementary to high school and smell that horrific familiar cafeteria smell to be taken right back to all those childhood memories. I remember the first time I went to check out the soon-to-be elementary school for Aidan. The very moment I opened that front door, I was immediately taken back to my first day of kindergarten. I remember wearing my favorite dress and my shiniest shoes.
Firsts. There are so many of them; most you want to remember, some you'd like to forget. First time riding a bicycle. I remember learning to ride with my training wheels and knowing if I didn't hear them on the ground, it meant I was actually riding on just two wheels. First time driving myself to my best friend's house after I got my driver's license. First love. First kiss. And not just any first kiss, the first kiss that made your palms sweat and heart pound. Who doesn't remember daydreaming in math class "trying on" his name to see how it fits. And as soon as you've planned your wedding, perfected your new signature and named your future kids, real life comes crashing in and you experience your first real heartbreak.
With your child, firsts are so special that you think you will never forget the day, the moment, the exact time, but you do. My son just turned 10, and it feels like just yesterday I was swearing he could end a drought by the amount of drool he was creating by cutting his first tooth. The first time he pulled himself up from a table and took his first steps. And the first time I heard him speak that one word all mothers want to hear, "Mommy". Before I know it, he'll be going on his first date, have his first kiss and have his first day as a freshman in my old high school. I am not ready for that yet! I don't think you fully realize how quickly time flies until you have a child in your life. "I don't remember growing older, when did they?"
For now, though, I am soaking up this stage in my life one day at a time. I have an amazing job, an amazing son and I am no longer in high school! I sat in my seat in my old high school auditorium, watching these talented little kids perform their hearts out, and though it was one of the cutest, most entertaining things I have ever seen. What a juxtaposition to be in the same place where, many years before, I shed tears over having my heart broken and being made fun of by the "popular girls" who made the drill team. Now, my tears were shed because my heart was filled with joy.
I would not want to be in high school again for all the money in the world. Now that I am a mom, how can I protect my son from what is coming? I don't want him to walk down the stairs and feel his hand struck to the bannister with chewed gum as a group of kids laugh because he fell into their trap. My heart hurts at the thought of him being devastated by something like that. How do you protect your child from what IS going to happen? Drugs, Alcohol, bullying, love and friendship heartache. I turned out okay despite being dumped by the most popular guy in school after he got what he wanted.
He will make it too, right?