18.  It’s just a number, but without perspective it doesn’t mean much.  18 seconds with bare feet on hot pavement could seem like an eternity, while 18 seconds for an embrace would seem to end in the blink of an eye.  18 years?  When your child is born seems like forever.  But let me assure you, it is not.  Time isn’t consistent at all.  It speeds up and slows down of it’s own accord, and most likely in the least favorable direction.  When things are tough, time drags and we wonder will it ever end.  When life is full of all the good it can give, time seems to go by at the speed of light.  Time is indeed, a fickle friend.

Massanutten FANS 6th grade


Today my firstborn child is graduating from high school.  He will be going off to college in the fall to find his own life, and I find myself ecstatic and devastated at the same time.

The last 18 years have held both the joys and sorrows of the business of growing up.  We hold our children’s accomplishments and defeats close to our hearts, and it shapes us; we invest emotionally in this person that is so like us, yet so different.  And we reach a point in the latter teen years where we find ourselves saying, “I will miss you so much, but you HAVE to go.”  And we find ourselves yet again in new territory, figuring out how to be a parent to a young adult.


18 years is not that long in retrospect.  There are so many lessons to be taught and so many things to learn, and I find myself constantly wondering, did I do it good enough?  Did I miss something majorly important?  Will he want to come back home to visit?  I had the privilege of spending 18 years with him; 18 Christmases, 18 birthdays and countless vacations and I’ve treasured every single one of them–the good and the bad.  And looking back, I’m forced to revise my idea that 18 years is a long time.  In the span of a lifetime, it is minuscule.

Bugaboo has given me sheer joy and gray hair alike.  He has tested my patience, and broken it on occasion.  He has made me laugh and cry, and everything in-between.  He is polite, kind and enthusiastic.  He is a joy, and I am proud to be his mom.  Congratulations baby, I love you!



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24 Responses to Perspective

  1. andy1076 says:

    Congrats to his leaving high school! finally! freedom! lol! great job proud mom 🙂

  2. It is a time of retrospection.. all the things that you said and it is definitely a life changing occurrence but I’m sure you’re a proud Mom right now…. I think your son is a proud son too.. Diane

    • Thanks Diane! And thanks for stopping by my languishing blog! It’s so weird that the worrying just never stops; we only find new things to worry about! In the end, its a positive step we are taking!

  3. Awww, that was simply beautiful, and it brought tears to my eyes because I know exactly what you are going through. My oldest son started college two years ago, and although I couldn’t have been more proud of him, it absolutely broke my heart to see him go. I balled my eyes out when we dropped him off that first day. Now, two years later, he is so grown up and mature that sometimes I do a double take because I can’t believe how fast the years have gone by. It truly is a new stage – it’s hard to get everyone together for a family activity anymore because both my boys are busy with jobs and school, and basically they have their own lives now. However, there are pros and cons to everything, and I can feel a sense of pride that we did a good job, and I am also enjoying some freedom for the first time in a long time. In fact, my hubby and I are treating ourselves to a big vacation by ourselves this summer for our 25th anniversary, and the boys will hold down the fort at home :). It will be hard for you, I know, when he goes off to college, but he will always be your baby, and boys will always love their mom :). Congrats to your son – he is one handsome young man!!

    • Hello PFTLB! I hope you are well, and life has been good to you! Thanks for the comment! What are you doing with your newfound freedom these days, besides writing? Hopefully the big vacation will be good! We did orientation yesterday, and it was a bit sad, but exciting too! Such a weird combination of feelings. Thanks for the comments!

      • It is a weird combination of feelings isn’t it because you are so damn proud of him, but your mommy instincts just want to hold onto him and never let go :). I’ll bet he is totally excited! I know when Bryan left for college the first year, he couldn’t wait for the independence that came along with it, and he thrived on it. As for my newfound freedom, I am really trying to make time for me again, and I am finding that I have a lot more time for my favourite hobby of all time – reading! I have been a bookworm since I was a small child, and now I am able to read a great deal more again, and it’s wonderful :). Anyway, I’m glad orientation went well, and I’m sure your son is going to do amazing!!

  4. Hi, Arnel! Congratulations!!!! I can understand how bitter sweet this feeling can be, however at the core of it it is pure joy. All the very best to him and hugs to you, my dear! 🙂 xx

  5. pattisj says:

    Congratulations to your grad!

  6. Lynne Ayers says:

    18 birthdays. It’s not many, is it? I maintain that the dirty diapers and skinned knees are the easy part. The hard part is sending them off and watching them take their knocks and refraining from trying to fix everything for them. Congratulations, to both of you – it looks to me like you did a great job, Arnel.

    • Thanks Lynne. I dunno. You know I’m sure the feeling that some days we pat ourselves and think we are doing just peachy and other days where we are convinced we are utter failures. I do worry. Orientation was yesterday, and there was a lot of anxiety. It wasn’t the really fun experience I thought it would be, and in fact made me rather sad. He was relieved that it was over with, but wonders if he picked the right college. Sigh….

  7. Perspective…
    It’s something we all look for, and, at the same time, dread finding…
    Eighteen years is, at the same time, an eternity and the flash of an eyelid. The relativity of time is something we’ve all had to adjust to – (we do not “get used to it”, we acknowledge it happens, and go on from there).
    I congratulate your son on successfully navigating the minefield of high school, and wish him – and you – luck on the bigger, blinder, and more treacherous minefield of college.
    Spoken by one who managed to make it through…
    Al Bouchard

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