An empty front porch

Last night, ugh.

Yesterday I was excited. I had a planned a post – “School Year’s Eve” I would call it. I would talk about how we survived summer, the things we did and didn’t do and how I looked forward to the night before the first day of school more than my birthday and Christmas combined.

Then I asked for a picture. One. Picture.

I wanted all four of the kids to gather on the front porch because I don’t have first day of school pictures with all of them together anymore. I get one, or two pictures tops and it’s mostly Bebe and Peanut because I coerce/beg them to do it.

But Bug refused. He sat in a chair eating and refused. I bartered. I begged. I pleaded that I wanted one picture of all of them together.

The other three had mostly agreed and were headed towards the front door.

No. Bug repeated.

It didn’t matter what I would say or do or threaten he would not get up and go for a picture.

Then Shorty decided that if Bug didn’t have to, neither did he. It turned into an argument, a battle of wills and tears from me.

I threw a mom sized temper tantrum. I started cleaning like crazy and muttering and cussing my 17 year old both loudly and to myself.

He came back with what was the big deal. Why did it matter to me so much that I had a picture of all of them together.

I avoided his answer at first. I spouted about paying for his VLA class to continue and registration on the car, probably the insurance, and a host of other things he’s asked for or needed from me without batting an eye. Senior pictures. Announcements. All of these things I did, and all I wanted in return was one. damn. picture.

He yelled some more – he didn’t care if he had pictures or announcements. He didn’t ask for me to pay for those things.

I yelled that he didn’t get it and he didn’t understand. I do all of those things because that is what a mom is supposed to do for her children for as long as they need her to do them.

I cried.

He stomped away. The other kids scattered like cockroaches under a spotlight.

No one went to the front porch. It remained empty.

This is the last year. The last time they will all have a school year’s eve together. I wanted that one moment for just me.

An Empty Front PorchBecause as much as I don’t show it and I am slackerish and I don’t wax poetic about my kids growing up or those precious fleeting moments, I still want to hold them. I celebrate their milestones but inside I mourn their youth and innocence and need for me.

I needed to see that last school year’s eve with all four of my children together. Because in just four short months, to the day, I will have done something that I never thought *I* would be able to do: I will have raised an adult.

And this is his last year to stand on our front porch with his siblings and prepare for that last year of school.

Last night I felt the shift in the earth, in my earth and I was desperate to clutch it and freeze it just a moment longer before it was gone. I didn’t want to wake up and have missed That. Moment.

This is the last year for him and for me.

I sobbed at the heavens, “I’m not done with him yet! He’s not a grown up. He just started school. We haven’t even read the rest of his dinosaur encyclopedia. He still needs me to get him ready.”

And I needed that more than anything else in the world. I craved a little something to commemorate our last year. Just as I watched Peanut board the bus for the first time two years ago for Kindergarten and knowing in my heart and in my soul that I will never do this – a first day of Kindergarten, I will never see my oldest, the first born and miracle in my heart start his last year of high school.

I didn’t get my moment. By the time things settled to a simmer, the sun had gone down and I had been defeated. The moment had passed and my children finished getting their supplies ready. Bookbags uncovered from the heaps of junk in their rooms, and last minute clothes washings completed. Showers and baths were taken and teeth were brushed.

There were no kisses or hugs for me.

The house got quiet and kids went to sleep. My heart was broken.

I went to bed thinking and wishing that I could’ve made him understand, that someday this would happen for him to – that he would want to freeze time, all of the firsts and all of the lasts for his children.

I wished for him to see that when you’re done – when you’re job is through and all of the school year’s eves are gone, the only thing you have left is an empty front porch.

About Nichole Smith

Nichole Smith has written 758 post in this blog.

Founder of Chaos in the Country and (original) The Guilty Parent blog, Nichole is a professional writer, blogger, social media strategist, and collector of yarn, books, and pretty paper.

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