High School Musings

It was early in the morning, barely even light outside yet, but I could hear my son’s alarm go off down the hall.  I popped out of bed in time to see him sleepily stumble to his bathroom while the rest of the house slumbered.

It was Zach’s first day of high school today.

I walked downstairs while I heard the water turn off and on above me.  I set up my coffeemaker to brew and looked out my kitchen window at the lightening outside.  It was hard to believe that Zach was old enough to start high school.  He was growing taller, all of the time, easily inches above my own head these days, growing taller and more manlike every second.

I allowed myself, just for this quiet moment, to think back for a moment.  I hardly ever thought of his biological father these days; we were a cohesive family unit now, and for all intents and purposes R was Zach’s father.  It was honestly hard to remember a time when he wasn’t there in our lives.  Z called him Dad, never once mentioning his “stepfather”, just his father.  He also never, ever brought up his biological father;  I knew it must be on his mind in some capacity as he grew older.  He looked nothing like me; he had to know the face that stared back at himself in the mirror belonged to the mystery man that he’d heard just a few things about and had never met.

I wondered, in the dimly lit kitchen, about Joe.  Where was he now?  It had been now 14 years now since I’d seen him last.  Was he married? He seemed like the marrying kind, I thought.  Did he have more children, I wondered?  Did they look like my son, with the strong chin and the dark hair and eyes?  Did he ever think of us, wonder where we were and how we were doing?  I blinked, thinking again how amazing it was that this kind soul whom I had loved so dearly could have never once tried to find us, reach us, help us.  What kind of person did he grow into?  What capabilities lurked deep within my kind, gentle son that I couldn’t yet see?

I’d met Joe in high school.  It hardly seemed possible that it was fourteen years ago; it felt like yesterday.  I could close my eyes and still see him, feel him, feel that headiness that was the overwhelming emotion that came with high school.  Everything is important, everything is life and death, everything is all or nothing.  And now here I was, watching my son embark on the craziness that came with that territory.  I felt a momentary sense of panic as I thought about him dating girls and making decisions that could affect the rest of his so far very promising life. He couldn’t make the same mistakes I’d made, we’d made.  He just couldn’t.

“Hey Mom,” Zach greeted me as he walked slowly into the kitchen.  “You didn’t have to get up.”

I sighed, forcibly pulling myself out of my reverie.  “Yes I did.  It’s called parenting.  First day of high school is a requirement; right there in the rulebook.”

He laughed and gathered a bowl and a box of cereal together.  My son was quiet when he was thinking.

“You nervous at all?” I asked, trying to engage some sort of conversation.

“No,” he answered solidly.  “Should I be?”

I paused before answering, “No.  You’re smart, you’re talented, you’ll enjoy high school more than you can ever imagine.”

He smiled at me, blushing a bit in the dim light.  “We’ll see, I guess.”

Indeed.

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