It’s that time of year again, when my timeline is full of kids with fresh haircuts and brand spanking clean clothes, holding up signs that say “First Day of XXX Grade!”
There are some moms for whom this return to school is quite bittersweet. It’s their baby’s last first day of high school. They bought a new backpack, got all the pencils and complicated calculators, ironed the new shirt and paid the ASB fees for the last time.
They dropped their kiddo off (or waved at them as they drove away or got on the bus) and choked back a tear or two. They checked the mailbox to see the college catalogs and application invitations beginning to pile up. They sat down and realized this is the last first day of school.
Some may have celebrated. And maybe found some confetti to throw in the air. *cough*
So for those of you still in the trenches (I feel you, Wolfgang graduated in 2018), I’ve got a list for you!
5 Things You Need to Know About Being a High School Senior Parent
- It’s a whole year full of lasts. The last first day of school. The last band concert. If you are an emotional human, stock up on Kleenex. I cried for the entire first week of school. It’s ok. All the senior moms are doing it (except that one mom you know, and this is her last kid and she is 900% over it).
- It’s an expensive year. Class rings and yearbook ads and special hats they wear only once and flowers for everything and announcements to remind the world you have kept them alive for 18 years and teeshirts that say “CLASS OF 20**” and all sorts of events. Parties and proms and dresses or tuxes and road trips before all of them split off and start their grownup lives without you and DON’T CRY BECAUSE IT WILL BE OK, but get more Kleenex.
- Take the pictures. Kids tend to wander away after high school graduation and they’re adults and stuff. Once they’re not in your house anymore, you’ll appreciate the plethora of photos of the last first day of school and the last band camp and wallpapering your house with photos of your children is entirely acceptable.
- If you miss something, don’t feel guilty. Because it’s the “last” of everything, you can really get caught up in filling your dayplanner with everything from PTA meetings to parent-teacher conferences to football games to concerts. You don’t have to attend everything if it’s tearing you up. I missed the last Back To School night AND a choir concert and kicked myself for weeks. Spare yourself the “mea culpa” and just accept that you won’t make everything. It’s totally ok.
- It’s OK if your kiddo doesn’t know what they want to do next year. My Facebook timeline for Wolfgang’s entire senior year was “Little Joey got accepted to Banana State University” or “We got yet another acceptance letter, Peanut will have so many choices!” I have so many words about this, but it’s OK if your kid doesn’t have the rest of their lives planned out today.
High school senior moms need a lot of grace – if you know one, make sure you hug them. Or invite them out for drinks. Or hug them and THEN invite them out for drinks.