This is the last week of high school for my oldest child. In just a few days, his K-12 career will be over. I remember taking him to his very first day of Kindergarten. I got him dressed in his little denim shorts and character shirt, pulled the velcro across his thick shoes, and sent him into a classroom to begin his education. That first year of school, I got several notes from his teacher. Zack won’t stop putting a pencil behind his ear. Zack won’t stay in his seat, Zack keeps talking to his neighbors. Yes, we thought his teacher was a little hyper focused on Zack’s behavior, but we navigated through it. Each year, Zack was introduced to a new and different teaching style. Some experiences were amazing. One teacher saw leadership potential in him at an early age. She gave him jobs and he was blissful and obedient. Some teachers were not the best fit. But each experience taught him how to deal with obstacles, personality differences, and authority. As a senior in high school, Zack has earned the praise of his teachers. I get notes of a different kind now. Zack is smart, delightful, dedicated, kind, thoughtful, and honest.
This morning he walked into my room to say goodbye to me. He was in the process of putting his sister’s red soccer socks on his feet. “Whatcha doin there, cowboy?” I asked. He explained that the final week of school for seniors was a spirit week. “Today is America day.” He told me. And my breath caught in my throat. Because I KNEW it was the final week of his school career, but hearing it out loud, from him, was like a punch in the gut! I immediately started to cry. “Mom! Why are you crying about America day at school?” He asked. “It is your last week of school,” I managed to squeak out. And like a flood that had been held back, I asked the question that has pressed on my heart and mind over the past few days.
“Did I do okay?” I asked.
“Did you have a good childhood? Did I take enough care, read enough books, take you to the park enough, make your favorite food enough, love you enough?”
This is the weight of a mom’s heart in the moment she sees that her son’s childhood chapter is coming to a close. You look back over all of the years and wonder if held up to the light, will they be enough. There is no special recognition for this life’s work. There is only the curve in the road ahead, the inability to fully see what comes next.
But as I cry these tears in the quiet darkness of my bedroom, with my faithful furry friend at my feet, I have an answer that will allow me to sleep at night. I helped to raise a kind and loving man that is eager to find his place in the world. I gave him his best friends for life, four of them. And from the time he was old enough to understand, I taught him about Jesus. Our story is not perfect. There were many days filled with yelling – Me, and crying – him. We left full grocery carts in the store because of outrageous behavior, I wasn’t always patient, I wasn’t always right, and I wasn’t always everything he needed. But I believe that God was. God is. So as I send him off into the next chapter of his life, I will reflect on what I know is true. I do know the answer to the most vulnerable questions in my heart.
I did okay, and it was enough.