The Crying Mom

Do you remember what it was like as a kid the night before you were going somewhere exciting, like Disneyland (or a bible convention where all of the Cute Boys Who Loved Jesus AND making out behind the nursery would be?) You would toss and turn and look at the clock every three minutes wondering if it was time to wake up and go already?
That was me last night. Only, I wasn’t going to Disneyland in the morning. Oh no, I was going to drive my first born son to his first day of high school.
I could not stay asleep no matter how hard I tried. My mind was racing with nervous thoughts for him.
Will he find his friends? Will he sit alone at lunch? Will he got lost on the big campus?
I really have held it together quite well considering I am one of Those Moms who cry about every little milestone in their kids lives. (For instance, last night Gabby drew her first recognizable happy face. I could feel myself getting all emotional as she made two round little eyes. When she was finished, I looked at her little happy face and said “where are the ears, sweetie?” And she drew two little round ears in the right spot and I flipping lost it. “Oh my God, she drew ears, Tony. EARS!”. Seriously, I cried over the drawing of ears, people.)
I woke up a little before 5, got dressed and did an hour of work before I woke the kids up.
At 5:45 I heard Andrew walking down the hall.
“Why are you up already?”
“I couldn’t sleep, mom.”
“Are you nervous?”
“No! I’m excited. I can’t wait.”
That was comforting to me and truth be told, I was nervous enough for both of us.
I made breakfast, made lunches, made sure the boys had everything they needed, woke Gabby up, got her dressed and out the door we went.
I have always had a little tradition of taking the boys pictures with their backpacks on the first day of school. Today, I ALMOST forgot.
“Oh my God, I need to get the camera! Wait here while I get the camera!” I shouted.
There was lots of eye rollage and sighs of disgust because “MoooooOOOoM!”
I ran inside and grabbed the camera despite the boys begging and whining that I just “forget about the stupid camera.”
Normally, when I take pictures, I’ll snap a shot, look at it and make sure it came out alright. Today, I didn’t do that. I just snapped the camera and off we went.
As we were getting closer to Andrew’s school, we started to see groups of kids walking towards the building. Andrew started fidgeting in his seat. I could tell he was starting to get nervous.
“You ok?” I asked.
“Yeah.”
“You sure?”
“Well, I’m starting to get a little nervous now.”
And it was in that moment that the gravity of what was happening sucker punched me in the heart and took my breath away.
I had dreamt about this moment from the first time I held that baby boy in my arms. I truly had. And here it was happening sooner than I had ever imagined. My son, the sweet little boy who used to sit on my lap and giggle uncontrollably while I made funny faces. That innocent little toddler, who once held my hand, looked up at me with the biggest smile on his face and said “I love you so much, I want to marry you mommy.” That little guy isn’t so little anymore. He’s now an awkwardly handsome dude with a man voice who rolls his eyes when I ask him to pick up his clothes off of the floor because that’s what High Schooler’s do when their moms get all up in their business and ask them to get off of their ass for TWO SECONDS to pick up their mess.
As I pulled up to the curb to let him off, I could feel the flood of emotions rising within me and I wished so badly that I could shout “FREEZE!” and make time stop if only for a minute. I just wanted to look at that boy and remember how it felt the first time I held him in my arms and compare it to how it felt to be sitting there next to him in all of his teenage glory about to let him go into the big, exciting world of high school.
I put the car in park and I asked him how he was feeling one last time before he got out of the car.
“I’m nervous, but I’ll be fine, Mom.”
“I know you will be. Have fun, baby. I love you.”
“I love you too, Mom.”
And with that, he shut the door behind him and began to walk towards the campus and into a new chapter in his life. I watched him walk away in the rear view mirror, just in case he turned around to wave goodbye.
He didn’t.
I continued to watch him as he walked further away from me and closer to his new adventure in life. Suddenly he disappeared into the sea of teenagers.
A sea of emotions washed over my body.
Panic. Excitement. Anxiety. Pride.
Then came the tears. Finally, the tears.
“Only four more years”. I said out loud as I cried.
Four more years and my little dude will be an adult.
That when Ethan decided to chime in.
“Are you CRYING? Oh my GOD, why are you crying, Mom?!”
“Yes, I’m crying. I’m crying so hard because that is my baby boy, Ethan. The little baby boy that made me a mother and I still remember the day he was born and I just can’t believe that in just 4 short years, he’s going to be an adult and EXCUSE ME FOR LIVING, BUT I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO CRY ABOUT THAT.”
He shrugged his shoulders and said “Well, I just think it’s dumb that you’re crying about this.”
Nothing like the brutal honesty of a 10 year old to ruin a moment.
I was able to get a grip and turn off the tears in time to walk Ethan to his first day of 5th grade. I think that he secretly felt bad for me and understood why I was crying because as I was leaving, he said “I love you, Mom” and walked over to give me a kiss.
A kiss! From my 5th grader! In front of his friends!
He’ll never know how much I needed that kiss.
He’ll also never know that as soon as I got home, I ran inside to upload pictures I snapped of them on their way to school and that as soon as I saw them I started to cry again because OH MY GOD LOOK AT MY BOYS THEY AREN’T BABIES ANYMORE AND WAH IT HURTS MY LITTLE HURT SO BAD.
The Freshman (!!!!!) The Fifth Grader and The Toddler

93 thoughts on “The Crying Mom

  1. Meegan

    Great post. They are all SO BEAUTIFUL!
    I think about taking my little one to college more than I think about taking her to kindergarten. She turns 1 next week and I can hardly believe it.
    Someday she’s going to have her heart broken and experience girl drama. Ugh. I think I’m going to peek in on her, sleeping in her crib with her butt in the air. My little bear.

  2. Beth

    What a beautiful bunch of kids you have..so blessed.
    I know how you feel…I just send my oldest boy to COLLEGE and I cried my eyes out…time goes by sooo fast. I hate it. I told my daughter to never have kids…all they do is break your heart.

  3. gabrielle

    What a beautiful post! My regrets and congratulations both! Your boys (and little girl, too!) are gorgeous and so lucky to have you as a mom. My little dude is only 4, but sending him off to Pre-K is tearing me up. I can’t imagine high school yet…God bless you!

  4. Lori

    I’ve been coming here for a while, via a friend’s blog, and I’ve enjoyed reading your stuff quite a bit. But I just had to finally comment because of your baby-boy-all-grown-up entries, because OH BOY, do they hit home! Sigh. We die a thousand deaths…
    Anyway, hi! and great writing! :)

  5. Helen

    My eldest has a pension plan! He was 22 last week and talks to me the way a grown man talks to his mother …breaks my heart and then fixes it all together again. My littlest is 4 and I just know you get the same feeling I do when you look at your great big boys with your teenie girlie and just can’t believe they are all yours! I just love how G looks so little next to her big HS brother with the huge hands!

  6. laura

    What handsome boys you have! And a super cute little girl who reminds me of my own 3-year-old with her Dora and Princess bags!

  7. jenn

    I love this post and what a great photo.
    “Are you CRYING? Oh my GOD, why are you crying, Mom?!”
    LOL…. if I had a dime for every time I heard that!

  8. Jenny H.

    Damn.
    You made me cry again. My oldest will start pre-K next year. I am NO where near prepared. I can’t even think about high school.
    Dear God.
    It was beautiful and heart-wrenchingly real.

  9. Phoenix

    Your boys are adorable. Your daughter too, but I’d seen pics of her.
    Hey, both your boys told you they love you. That’s a great thing at their ages. Just remember, 4 years is a lot of eye rolls and Mooooooommmmm’s, left.

  10. superblondgirl

    We’re going to be starting kindergarten in a week and a half, and I keep telling myself “There were 2 years of preschool. There’s no bus. You can DO this.” and then I think that he’ll be gone ALL DAY and I feel myself wanting to well up and have to beat it down. High school? Somebody better tie me up to stop me from embarrassing the crap out of the poor kid that day.
    Oh, and the picture is so adorable it almost made me start crying, too. They’re gorgeous.

  11. whoorl

    Oh my lord, I just had a moment over here. I love everything about your writing, Y.
    NOW GET YOUR ASS DOWN TO THE BEACH AND KEEP ME COMPANY. Maybe you can read your posts out loud while I enjoy some grapes or something…

  12. Christine

    I’m a sobbing mess right there with you. A little over a week ago I sent my baby off to kindergarten and my oldest off to his sophomore year in high school. I can’t believe my baby is a kindergartener already. And I can’t believe all my kids are now in school. And I can’t believe our oldest will be an adult in just three short years. If you figure out how to freeze time please let me know.

  13. margalit

    My son is in his junior year, his sister in her sophmore year. This is the year for college tours and SAT tests and review classes. I’m completely beside myself with angst. HOW an I going to be able to live by myself after they both go off to college? I think I”m gonna need a roomate or a foster kid or something.

  14. InquisitiveFattie

    Ok, 1) I love that Gabby has to have 2 purses and that it’s both princess’ and dora.
    2) Don’t your boys know that it is AUGUST. Arent’ they hot? haha. I know cool cannot be formed around weather.
    They all look adorable and Andrew is so cute all protective of his sister and trying to be cool at the same time. :)

  15. teebopop

    First, it was kindergarten.
    Then, it was Junior High School.
    Oh, and then it was High School.
    But taking the kid to college and dropping her off to live with total strangers? Massive crying, hysterics, stress, and all the rest that goes with it.
    And it happens every year now. This year she’s a junior. I still cry when I drive away and she waves at me, blowing a kiss.
    And just when I think I’m all done slobbering and wiping the runny nose from crying, I know that when she goes to graduate school it will happen all over again.
    Chronologically they may be adults, but they’ll always be your babies. Trust me. I know.

  16. robin

    Damn you, woman. I started reading this post last night and finished it this morning before heading off to work. Now I’m a mess, crying over here now. Thanks a lot :)
    Beautiful post!

  17. kheatherg

    Gosh, Ethan really does look all big and manly and grown up!
    My baby, my ONLY boy out of 4, started pre-k this year with our school system. I slithered back to my vehicle after dropping him off for the first day.
    Ethan’s gonna get ya, but Gabby’s gonna be the one to break you down, the last and only little girl……….
    Good luck to all us mommas!

  18. Pam

    CUTE PIC!! Was Ethan yawning or yelling? No matter how old they get, everything about my kids makes me cry and everything you blog about your kids makes me cry!! It’s a Mom thing, I guess. (note to self to use waterproof mascara before reading any more of Y’s posts)
    My last baby started kindergarten this month. Talk about a reality check.
    First it’s drawing ears and then it’s planning a wedding…all in a blink of an eye, I swear.

  19. Mrs. Chicky

    Damn. Now I’m crying. I haven’t gotten to the preschool stage with my daughter yet but now I’m worrying about high school.
    Stupid parenting stuff.
    Love the picture.

  20. kylei

    Awww Fuck now I am sitting at work crying…. thanks! I just took my lilttle baby 1 1/2 to daycare a new one for the second day today and wow I dont want to take her to high schooolt thats TOO MUCH!
    Also ears in the right place thats awesome I would cry about that too..

  21. Nikol

    I’m not a mom yet, but this made me cry. I’m trying to hide behind my monitor so my boss doesn’t think I’m an emotional basketcase (even though I totally am). :)

  22. Miss Hope

    Oh, Y, you’re killing me here. I just got over my 8th grader ruling the school this year and now I gotta prepare to let her go do something like this next year this time?
    Makes me squeeze my three year old just a little harder.

  23. Ninotchka

    ha ha ha – I love your son’s comments. I had a big day too sending Elle off to her first day of Kindergarten :::insert biting of fist here::: and then she got home and Guy told her “mommy cried like a little girl”…gee, thanks honey! So what if I did? (Oh, did I ever!)

  24. Jeanette

    Okay, delurking for this one…..my baby started kindergarten this year. The first day, in her classroom, I was sobbing uncontrollably-tears, snot, quite a scene.She was hugging me going, “It’s alright mommy”…I totally get where you are coming from!

  25. Jackie

    Such a gorgeous family. And a really beautiful post. I got all teary because in a week my daughter is starting Kindergarten. But! Wasn’t I just bringing her home form the hospital yesterday?! Gah.

  26. Laurie

    Wow, your writing just blows me away. I am also sitting here bawling, because of your story and because I thought I was the only one who cried over every single milestone. I have only one child, and he starts high school in one week. I cry because I know I will never get to experience these things again, and because they are happening, all of it! I remember when he lost his first tooth at a family bbq and everyone thought I was nuts because I was bawling my eyes out. *sigh* Keep up the good work!

  27. Shannon in NY

    Oh wow, that really hit me hard. My “baby” boy is going to GRADUATE this year! The first one that made me a mommy. ;) Sometimes when I think of it, it knocks the wind right out of me. He will be gone before I know it. I just can’t imagine honestly.
    That was so sweet of Ethan to kiss you good bye, sweet boy.

  28. Oceanbug

    Incredible… great entry, reminded me of my daughter (step) going off to college, was very sad to her as an adult.

  29. Amy

    Great post Y… I’m tearing up by just reading it.
    My little girl started 5th grade, she’s my only one… Can the aging slow down so I can enjoy her a little longer?

  30. TrishK

    So beautifully written. I think you truly expressed how we all feel at those moments…
    “sucker punched in the heart”
    been there

  31. Ginny

    Beautifully told, Y–I loved it. Also, I’m so jealous. Your boys are WONDERFUL to you! You are very,very lucky. Off to cry some more now….

  32. M

    OMG! What cute kids! Check out my son’s first day high school photo…he has the same backpack and shorts…he wanted those shoes but they don’t come in a size 15.

  33. Terrie

    You oldest son looks absolutely massive standing next to your daughter. You must grow them tall down there in them United States. Phew. My son is a midget compared – 14 and barely 5 feet tall. Considering his lineage, he doesn’t have much hope though!

  34. Ree

    So, now I’m crying.
    I missed Shortman’s first day of High School, but not his first day at his NEW High School. Then, I only missed picture day (the life of an executive with a stay at home husband).
    Next week he’ll be a Junior!. I may be able to survive that, but if 5th grade graduation is any indication, I’ll never make it through his Sr. year.
    They’re beautiful Joy.

  35. Pamela

    Great mum you are ! Boys are very camera shy.
    You still call your boy ” baby”. My 5 year old is asking me to stop calling her baby anymore….

  36. Incognito

    Makes you want another one, eh? *trying to stifle a giggle* Read your December 04, 2003 entry. 2nd line from the bottom. heh heh…..

  37. Y

    HECK NO, it doesn’t make me want another one.
    Which is why I made The Man get a vasectomy.
    I do, however, wish time would slow down a little bit because DAMN, they grow too fast.

  38. Elena

    I love the way Gabby looks so tiny hugged up against Big Brother’s leg. I put my 10 yr old son Zac on the school bus to start fourth grade this year and realized that next year my baby girl Lynda Elean will be climbing on there for the first time for kindergarten…it destroys me. I want to have another baby!

  39. Candace Martin

    it never ends, eh? I was just blogging about how it hurts my hurts to send my three and half year old to pre-school because she’s seems so much bigger to me than last year.
    these are the good ole days, no?

  40. MsRebecca

    Yep, My first born took the trek to high school as well.. OMG.. I could hardly breathe and this year she is going co-ed, she’s been going all girls for the last 3 years, apparently, now with 2 weeks behind us, I have only learned that she knows most of the boys on the football team… I should be concerned, shouldn’t I?

  41. Kay

    ZOMG! I know the picture is supposed to be about the boys (and believe me I can’t believe how BIG they got and HANDSOME!) but what struck me was how teensy tiny G looks beside her big brother. Hell I almost cried! :)

  42. Grace

    My oldest went to high school this year too. I can so relate to your feelings. It used to be my husband was the one always crying over “silly” things like that and I’d scoff at him. Now, it’s me crying. Hoping, praying they turn out super-wonderful despite their mother. LOL

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