It is a week of “lasts” in our household. On Saturday, Jacob will graduate from The Stony Brook School. Already some of the “lasts” have begun. Last week the four, five and six year seniors were recognized in a special service. Students who have attended the school since seventh grade are considered “six year seniors.” It’s a meaningful tradition to honor these groups of students.
I am aware of this momentous juncture and so is Jacob. The other night at dinner he said, “It is my last Monday of high school.” Perhaps it is a grace that during milestone events regular life continues. Rather than sit around and feel sad or even happy for seven straight days, laundry must be completed, groceries purchased, and the dog fed.
This Thursday marks the official beginning of the weekend festivities. Prom is Thursday night; Friday is Baccalaureate and Class Night; Saturday is Commencement. Throughout the week, family will be arriving as well.
Any parent of graduating student will tell you how quickly the time flies. It’s true. I blinked and my blonde-haired, gecko-loving boy turned into an 18-year-old young man headed for college. When Jacob and Anna were little, I remember people I didn’t even know telling me how quickly the time would fly. “You’ll blink and they will be out of the house,” they said. As an often tired, trees-instead-of-the-forest-kind-of mom, this wasn’t a huge comfort to me. I felt like I was stuck in the child-rearing years forever. I wondered if I would ever have a date with my husband where I didn’t have to shell out money for a babysitter. Now on weekends we experience a foretaste of the coming years. Two adults sitting across the table from each other and no children in the house.
I don’t have concrete proof of this, but I think living in a boarding school community heightens one’s emotions and awareness of these milestones. As a faculty member, I have relationships with the students that go beyond the classroom. We sit together at dinner, we attend Chapel together, and sometimes we work together in the yard. We see each other on our good days and our bad days. This is Jacob’s story too. As a boarder, he experiences even more of the emotional attachments with roommates and dormmates.
I anticipate Saturday will be a mix of emotions. How could it not be? As Jacob walks across the stage to receive his diploma, in my mind’s eye I will see a little boy wearing his favorite gecko tee shirt, telling himself a story about a lizard and a dragon.