My firstborn starts his senior year of high school tomorrow.

scan0001I swear I just had him. Like it was last night, I remember watching him in his layette as he slept, sucking his lips and making tiny mewling noises. Like it was a few days ago, I can feel the weight of his body in my arms; his sturdy little torso pressed against me as we look at animal books and laugh at dinosaur names.

I don’t understand time. How can 17 years pass so quickly?

Have I taught him enough, I wonder? Equipped him well for the world he’s about to enter?

Given him a spiritual center?

A practical eye?

A compassionate heart?

He’s had struggles these 17 years: Mind-boggling bullying in grade school. Insecurity and self-doubt during middle school.

Yet he’s experienced the grace of friends who stuck with him no matter what. The gift of teachers who ministered to his awkwardness. The compassion of time, which allows us to grow and change.

He’s the most empathetic person I know. He came through his particular storms with strength and confidence and a heart full of love.

And now he prepares for his final year of high school. His last year under our watchful wings.

“Pay attention to this year,” I tell him. “Hold the things you do dear.

“Celebrate the last times.

“And know that we love you.”