I sit in the stadium, holding my breath as they start calling the children whose last names begin with “m”. I can’t believe this is actually happening. It seems like just yesterday I was getting the call that Margie had a baby for us and now my Aiden is graduating high school. And in the fall, he’ll be going to college.
It doesn’t feel right, knowing that my baby is going to be leaving for college soon. I always knew this day was going to come, a looming black cloud that hung over me for years. And now the day I was dreading is finally here.
And yet, as I sit on a cold, metal bleacher next to Steve with Aiden sitting somewhere down in the mass of students, I think maybe it won’t be so bad. As much as I want Aiden to stay young forever, it is impossible to ignore the excitement every time he mentions college. I know that he loves us, but he is just so ready to move on and take that next step in his life. I wish I was that ready. I know it’s time to let him go and that he isn’t really leaving us forever.
Steve is constantly telling me that everything will be alright. And I think he may be right. I know there will be a lot of tears in the coming weeks. I can’t even imagine what will happen when I have to take him to college. That might be a day when I never stop crying. But I have to have faith that everything will be okay. That this new phase of my life won’t turn out so bad.
I stand up and start to clap, the tears already starting as the principal of Aiden’s high school calls his name. I watch as my only son walks up on the stage, a huge smile on his face as he shakes hands with the principal and accepts his diploma. He turns and looks up at the crowd and, even though I know he probably can’t see me in the mass of people, I feel like he is smiling just for me.
Much too soon, another name is called and Aiden walks off the stage.
“What do you think of that,” Steve asks, as we sit down. “Our Aiden. A high school graduate.”
“Yeah,” I say, my thoughts still spinning.
Normally, this is where Steve would say something reassuring, but I think he knows now is not the time. Instead, he settles for leaning over and gently kissing my cheek.
As the ceremony winds down, I try to tell myself that it will all be okay. That Aiden will be fine. And Steve and I will grow old together just like we were meant to. And even though there is still a big part of me that wishes I could go backward in time, I try to find solace in the hope that it will all be fine. After all, my son just graduated. And no matter what that means for the future, it is something to celebrate.
And that is part 34. Only one part left. So be sure to come back next week to see what happens to Steve, Joey and Aiden!!