It’s that time of year again. The prom photos have come and gone, awards ceremonies are wrapping up, and caps and gowns are on display. It’s graduation time.

Here’s the worst part of the situation: I have nothing to say about it that hasn’t already been said for ages. Every single thought in my head is a complete cliche.

“Where did the time go?,” “It seems like just yesterday.” I remember perfecting some mighty elaborate eye rolls when my own parents said these things to me, so I am doing my almighty best to not say them out loud to him.

He would tell you I am failing at that. I say them. A lot.

I remember with absolute clarity sitting in a small, low chair at a small, low table in the school library as he and I awaited kindergarten screening.

I remember the school concerts, the school plays, endless basketball seasons – all of which, plus lunch, took place in the exact same space at our tiny, rural school. I remember the annual hikes up Blue Hill Mountain and the class chickens – the ones that somehow came to live at our house.

At the end of the year, every year, the entire school would go to the town beach. Upon returning to school the head custodian would drag out the hose and spray the laughing, smiling kids through the open windows of the bus as it did loops along the drive.

All of this is etched in my mind with such vivid clarity. These things feel like last week; how can it be possible that he is graduating from high school?

Friends of mine, people I love dearly, have a brand new baby. She’s amazing and perfect and they are, of course, smitten and in love. They are fantastic parents – and they think they know. They know this time is precious and it will go by too quickly, despite the reality that while you are in it – the lack of sleep, the crying spells – it feels eternal. They “know” to pay attention.

But they don’t really know.

They can’t. There is no way for any of us to accurately convey the truth that somehow, in the time it takes to blink, that sweet little new one will grow up and be preparing to launch herself into her own life. Language can’t contain or shape that. You have to live it.

So that’s the worst part. I have nothing to offer my oldest child but soppy looks, tearful smiles and exhausted cliches.

Here’s the best part: He’s amazing. Sure, sure, he is also infuriating in that way only a teenager can manage, but when I pause and see the kind, sweet, intelligent and loving human he is, I am just bursting with pride.

He’s off to college in the fall, eager to join the ranks of those who look out for the rest of us. He’ll be very good at this. Heck, he’s already driving the ambulance and making fire calls. So I am proud, and joyful, and so eager for him to embrace his future.

I would also give all my worldly possessions to travel back in time and tell my younger self to slow down, settle in, and listen to him telling me about his day, in full and exhausting detail, just one more time.

Brunswick resident Heather D. Martin wants to know what’s on your mind; email her at [email protected].

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