When my youngest son began to attend school, he was not bright-and-shiny in the mornings. In fact, most days, after repeated attempts to rouse him, he would sit on his bed, eyes narrow and hair mussed, and declare to me: “You hurt my feelings!” I would bite my lip to keep from laughing at my little grumpy towhead.
Now, ten years later, he is still not a morning person. He will lie in the bed until the last possible second, sacrificing breakfast, and scramble out the door, threading his belt through the loops as he departs.
My older son is the opposite. While not a naturally early riser, he will wake for school and head to the shower without any argument. He’s never pleaded for five more minutes. He knows it takes him 40 minutes, start to finish, to be out the door.
My job as their mom has changed over the years. In the elementary years I was the alarm clock, stylist, short-order chef, cheerleader, and chauffeur. “Come on,” I’d cajole, “You can do it!” As if they were finishing a marathon.
Now, as the mother of two high schoolers, I am retiring from many of these roles. I no longer choose their wardrobe (to be fair, they wear a uniform to school now), cook their breakfast (I would if they would wake up in time!), or drive them to school (Whew! That one took some courage!)
There are other roles that are harder to release. As a very punctual person, I find it difficult to let them risk a tardy. So, I am still the alarm clock. This year, however, I will be learning to let this go. My older son is a senior, so he must learn to manage time before he moves away. He needs to set his alarm each day, and I need to hold back, even if he presses snooze several times and I have “tardy” anxiety.
I also continue to be their cheerleader, urging them out the door with a rah-rah-rah! This probably won’t change this year, and I’m okay with that. Until their final school day, I want to be their constant encourager, even if it is simply praising their success in getting out the door on time with clothes on and backpacks remembered.
As the school years slip away, I find delight in remembering years past, sleepy faces, hurried mornings, and sweet goodbye kisses. If you’d told me when we started our school years that these mornings were precious moments, I might have looked at you with a confused expression. However, now I realize that seeing my sons awaken—both literally and figuratively—during these years has been worth all the grit and grace it required.
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