I mean, yes, normally we age at a rate of 24 hours a day, but in this case there are milestones that are sort of blowing my mind.
The first indicator that children are growing is that Big T, my oldest, is GRADUATING FROM COLLEGE. For those of you who have followed my blog since the beginning (when the kids were like, "Sure, Mom, you can post our picture, whatever," as opposed to, "DENY YOU HAVE SPAWNED!" which is kind of what we're doing now) will remember my oldest son. You saw him at a sweet and awkward 13--still with braces--about two months after the Youngest was born. I expressed concerns then--he was diagnosed with a developmental disability focused around his communication centers, and every milestone and victory was documented.
Keep in mind, this was a child whom, we were told, "Might even learn to read by the time he hits 8th grade." Or, "Might be able to get a job after high school."
To which, I would like to say, "This is a grown-assed man who has lived on his own for four years, paying his own rent, and has continued to go to college and advocate for himself. He has a driver's license (which I fully admit I wasn't sure he could get and his father deserves SCADS of credit for helping him achieve) and (VERY importantly) the love of an amazing woman whom I hope my family doesn't drive away because she's awesome. And he's getting a college degree in English, the one subject he was not supposed to do well in at ALL."
Folks--my pride here is no small thing.
And the second indicator is that ZoomBoy is GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL. Now, you may be thinking, "But we know ZoomBoy is sort of brilliant, so..."
Well, this year was the suck. It was the suck for EVERYBODY. And I've heard some people going, "My kid just LOVED distance learning--they took to it like duck to water. They may never go into a classroom again." Which is great--I mean GREAT for them. I know some kids like that and I'm happy they've got a new way to learn. I've also heard some parents going, "Well, my kid hated it but they persevered because MY kid's a TROOPER, and they will do what is right!" Well, also, good for you. I'm glad you kid has that kind of constitution.
My kid wanted to die. And I don't mean that as in, "If this zit doesn't go away I may DAIEEEEE!" I mean he was so depressed he couldn't eat and we were doing periodic wellness checks as well as sweeps for sharp objects. We had to hide all the belts. And I didn't talk about it then because I could barely function because three of my kids were in that place and I was worried catatonic.
When he started to come around and level out, our focus was less on "Well, let's kick it into gear and graduate!" and more on, "Hey, you get to see your friends! Now for fucks sake EAT SOMETHING." But his grades started to swing around and independent study became less of a colossal chore for all of us. We still didn't think he was going to graduate--he would have to take two semesters of English in a couple of weeks and we didn't see that happening and then...
Last week the school contacted us and said, "Uhm, by the way, we decided to FUCK the last year of English for all the students. Fuck it all. Who cares. They survived the pandemic and we're so glad they're here. Have you ordered your cap and gown yet?" To which Mate and I replied, "That's great--and EEK! NO WE HAVE NOT!"
And suddenly ZoomBoy has rehearsal for a couple of performances that the drama teacher managed to squeeze out of this highly traumatic year.
So, A. If you don't hear from me on social media on Thursday and Friday I'm AT A PLAY and AT A GRADUATION CELEBRATION, and B. HOLY CRAP--HOO-FRICKIN-RAY!
I mean--I know there are still repercussions. We gave ZoomBoy a gap year to get his drivers license and try out for community theater and apply for junior college and get a shitty job so he has some motivation for school. Thanks to California's refusal to let kids be kids, he doesn't turn 18 until mid-November anyway--and I think he needs the time to grow up.
Big T is going into the teaching credential program that is currently driving his younger sister batshit insane. (I have not spoken about this on social media, but please believe me. It is true.) The credential program wasn't easy for me--I had so much internal growing I needed to do before I could walk into a classroom and believe they should listen to me. My kids each have different issues, but it's the same thing. Teaching is constant self-evaluation and internal reckoning of "Why am I doing this again?"
And that's fucking hard.
So of course they're not done growing yet--but then I'M not done growing yet. But for the moment, they've reached some specific milestones and I'm proud.
So let's hear it for graduation. Let's hear it for accomplishing something over the last year PERIOD. And let's hear it for Big T and ZoomBoy, who have both worried me shitless at different times over the years, but, for this moment here, are doing okay.