Yesterday was an eye opener. Our oldest texted and said he needed to order his cap and gown for his college commencement. It seems like just yesterday my husband and I were walking him to his first day of kindergarten. While commencement is a huge milestone, he will still have a couple of classes to finish, but he wants to walk with his friends. I am so proud that he's taken the initiative to make that happen. That's a big change from when he graduated from high school...he left for college without saying a word.
Couple this with knowing our youngest graduates high school in just 113 days and in just six short months will be knee deep in football practice getting ready for his freshman year of college, I'm teetering on the line between sheer panic and utter joy. I don't doubt that our youngest might leave for college with the same amount of fanfare. He's ready to get his life started and I think now as a senior is just going through the motions, wanting it to be June.
I've been getting LinkedIn requests from kids that are now graduating college. Kids that were at our kids birthday parties and those we took to the haunted woods. Kids that I've seen cry because they dropped their milk in the lunchroom, and kids that I've watched throw game winning touchdowns and those dancing at halftime. Kids that came to us for advice when they couldn't talk to their own parents. Now they are graduating and being unleashed into the world.
Where do the years go? We have friends our age with kids our kids ages and they are in the same boat. We also friends our age with kids that are toddlers, that have no idea what they are in for. We have friends whose kids have kids of their own. That one kind of freaks me out. So many are barely out of high school and are now responsible for someone other than themselves.
At 18 there was no way I would have been ready for kids. I was barely ready for college, and had a tough time taking care of myself. I met my husband at 18 and we married at 22; had one kid at 24 (him) and 23 (me), and one at 28 (both of us). Here we are 22 and almost 18 years later and the boys are getting ready to take on the world.
There were days I wasn't quite sure on getting married so young. Were we ready? Probably not, but we loved each other and that's all that mattered. When we had kids, I know we weren't ready, but we knew we wanted them and we wanted to be young parents.
So here I sit, just four months from my 46th birthday, and am thankful that we were/are young enough to enjoy our kids, and if the stars align, we will be able to enjoy our grandkids (boys..that's still years off, right?) God willing, there will be great-grandchildren in our futures as well.
I can't imagine what our friends with toddlers and grade school age children are going through now. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. I'm happy we had our kids young, it's not for everyone. Nor is having them in your mid to late thirties. In retrospect, those friends probably traveled more than we did in our twenties, and went out with friends who didn't have to get home to relieve the babysitter and those that had adventures. Our twenties and thirties were filled with diapers, helping with homework and trying to get them out of high school alive. We are now on the cusp of being able to travel and can now truly enjoy what life has to offer.
Life is changing. Every day I get a little older, and perhaps a littler wiser. I look forward to see what our kids future holds and those futures of our friends and their families. Life's too short to not enjoy it.