To My Awesome Little Man,
Here we are, sweet boy. An incredible milestone—elementary school graduation. It’s a big one. Tomorrow you cross that bridge to official tween-hood, ready to begin your junior high journey, and I can’t believe how far we’ve come.
From a curious little preschooler who yammered obsessively about sharks and dinosaurs all day, to a silly grade school jokester with the most infectious laugh anyone has ever heard, to a now handsome and studious young man with hopes, dreams, and a heart bursting with love, it’s been one heck of a ride watching you grow.
Your grade school years won’t soon be forgotten, not by me anyhow. I remember your first crush—how it took you two years to work up the nerve to give her a Valentine’s Day card (and a mere five minutes to get over it when she was mean to your friends in the school yard. Bros before…well, you know).
I remember how crushed you were when your best friend stopped talking to you because you weren’t as good in sports as he seemed to think he was. It broke my heart to see you hurting so much, but unbeknownst to me, it only pushed you to try harder than ever. Last week your football team won the championship thanks to your impressive quarterback skills (Go Eagles!).
I remember how nervous you were to start in a new school, how impressive it was to watch you progress from the shy new kid to someone who helps out his classmates and is loved by friends and teachers alike.
I know we clash a lot –A LOT— but it’s only because we are more alike than you’ll ever understand. When you’re in pain, I feel your pain. It’s not just a mom thing— it’s because we are so much the same, you and me. The anxiety, the shyness, the sarcasm—you get it from your mama! I’m sorry for some of it, but not all of it. I’m so insanely proud of the young man you are that it’s helped me overcome some of my own insecurities. I suppose if I could create someone as wonderful and amazing as you, I must be doing a few things right.
When I say I’m proud of you, you simply don’t understand just how intense that feeling is. And you likely won’t until the day you have a child of your own. When I look at how far you come, what you’ve accomplished, and how much you’ve grown….I’m overcome with this emotion I can hardly explain. I’m in awe of you. I’m bursting at the seams with pride. It’s indescribable, this feeling of love mixed with pride. Quite simply, you (along with your sister, of course) are my greatest accomplishment ever.
I’m already bracing myself for the teenage years. I haven’t heard many good things about that particular stage of parenting so I’m gonna need you to go easy on me, ok? I’m having a hard enough time as it is loosening my grip, giving you another inch of freedom every day. I can’t bear the thought of letting go of your innocent little hand for good.
So tonight I say a final good night to my elementary schooler, who will wake up and be closer to adulthood than he’s ever been. I’ll try not to cry as you flash me that signature, awkward, half-smile you plaster on when you’re feeling uncomfortable on stage. And I promise I’ll try not to squeeze the life out of you after the ceremony, when I wrap my arms around my gorgeous little graduate, savoring one of the last public hugs I will likely be permitted for a very long time.
I love you, my sweet, hilarious, handsome, funny, unbelievably amazing little man. Congratulations on this big step.