Congrats. Now get on with it.

I am not the most sentimental of mothers.

I began noticing the difference on my youngest son’s first day of kindergarten – surrounded by mothers wiping away tears while simultaneously sizing up my dry-eyed self and asking the inevitable question –

Doesn’t it make you sad?


Overjoyed, elated, exuberant, giddy…YES.  Sad?  No.

I could shower and shave my legs at the same time. I could use the bathroom without having to negotiate treaties over who got the light-saber that vibrates and who had to use the broken one with the cracked handle. I could eat Oreos and drink Coke without having to share.

The possibilities were endless.

Someone else was responsible for taking care of my kids.  All day.  For free.  AWESOME.

So I was not crying as the last young Jamison shuffled down the sidewalk and disappeared through those double doors into the land of glue sticks and communicable diseases along with his brothers.

As the years have passed the sheer number of events that arise in life for which a teary-eyed response is deemed most appropriate has grown exponentially.  Like Hallmark, the public school system keeps coming up with more and more events manufactured to designate a milestone in our kids’ livesand require a card purchase.  Seriously, kindergarten graduation?



Obviously the face of a serious and accomplished scholar.

To be fair, this lack of sentimentality has genetic roots.  I don’t remember my mother shedding too many tears when my sister and I were younger.  Unless you bumped her glasses and they scraped her nose or you forgot to finish the laundry.  But other than that, no.  She is making up for it in recent years with her grandchildren, pulling out the Kleenex with regularity as they move from one stage of life to the next. So there may be hope for me yet.

And having recently gone through a second round of high school graduation events for our Number Two Son, I again find myself facing that inevitable question –

Doesn’t it make you sad?


Overjoyed, elated, exuberant, giddy…YES.  Sad?  No.

These milestones are the fruit of our sometimes colossal – but often dubious – efforts to parent.  This is what we’ve worked for, crossed our fingers for and occasionally drowned our sorrows in alcohol for…and ultimately been the lucky ones to experience. Our kids growing up.  There is no bittersweet feeling for me as I watch them matriculate.

Despite their own attempts to use their skulls as battering rams, set themselves on fire, blow themselves up and generally sabotage their own bodily functions – they have managed to grow up or nearly so – mostly undamaged and in fine fettle, with their wits about them (I use the word “wits” loosely) and with choices in front of them about who they will be, where they will go, and what they will do with their lives.  That’s worth a few whoop-whoops.

And the fact that each milestone brings them one step closer to paying their own bills?  That brings tears to my eyes.


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