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August 25, 2010

Is Being a High School Freshman Harder For a Boy or His Mom?

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/is_being_a_high_school_freshman_harder_for_a_boy_or_his_mom_20100825/

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My son attended his Freshman Orientation at high school this week.  I volunteered to help out and spent the day at school with a few of the other parents from our middle school.  It was a long, very hot day, and my son left feeling very excited to start high school life.

It was an interesting day.  I got to see the campus, meet some teachers, spend time with other new parents, say hello to some really great kids that will be going on this journey with my son, and ask the Principal some questions.  It was a good day.

What was strange about the day, was that I kept having flashbacks.  They were vivid, and I kept jumping back and forth between now and then.  The flashes were sparked randomly, by the oddest things, and I found myself fighting back tears on and off throughout the day.

When we got to school, we were walking towards the spot where the orientation was to begin.  The kids were walking ahead, and at one point my son turned around and waved at me.  I flashed back to his first day of kindergarten when he did the exact same thing.

As he was walking onto his high school campus for the first time, but I saw my five year old son wave to me.  His friends were all teenagers, and I was my age now, but I could have sworn that I was looking at my young son going off on his own for the first time, and it was shocking.

When the lunch break began, I went with the other parents to sit and eat something.  I walked past the table where my son was sitting with new and old friends.  When I stopped to say hello, he told me he was okay, I didn’t need to worry, and gave my hand a small squeeze.

I flashed back to my twelve year old son, when I was dropping him off at temple for his first trip to Israel. He was settled in the car and about to leave, when he got out of the car, ran over to me, held my hand, gave it a small squeeze, looked me in the eye and said I did not need to worry.

I was sitting with a few parents and we got into an interesting discussion about religion and faith.  One of my friends told me that of all her Jewish friends, I was the one who seemed to embrace Judaism more than anyone else she knew.  I love it that this is how she sees me.

We were talking about faith, and the conversation turned to the Holocaust, and the impact that it had on the Jewish religion.  As I was sharing my views on the subject, I flashed back to when my son was six, and his father married a woman who was not Jewish.

My young son wanted to talk about being Jewish.  He said he was worried he would not be allowed to be Jewish because his stepmother was not Jewish, and God would be mad and not let him be a Jew.  We talked about it, I eased his mind, and he announced he was going to marry a Jewish girl.

I can’t remember what I made for dinner last night, but I remember everything my son has ever told me.  I remember every moment I have been blessed to have this child in my life.  I am foggy on most things that happened in my life before I gave birth to this precious boy.

It was an exciting, but melancholy day.  I cannot believe my baby is now 14, towers over me, and is heading off to high school. He is caring, kind, funny, smart and talented.  I am proud of him and love him more than I can explain or even understand.  He is perfection.

Perhaps the flashbacks where my way of letting go of my baby, and allowing my son to become a young man who is spreading his wings, and starting a new chapter in his life.  At the end of the day, when he went off to bed, I did cry.  Tears of joy that we made it to this place and time.

My son breezed through the day, and If he was nervous I couldn’t tell.  He was calm, cool and collected.  He laughed, had fun, introduced himself to new people, and made the most of the day and the experience.  I am so very proud of him and all he has become.

I imagine when he is graduating college and heading out into his adult life, I will have flashbacks to this time, when he was young and becoming independent. I look forward to every step this boy takes.  He is what powers my heart, and inspires me, every single day, to keep the faith.

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