Last night my son graduated from high school. Not only did he graduate but he graduated Cum Laude and with IB honors, and he has been accepted to one of the top science engineering schools in the country.

class of 2011, high school graduation

I’m extremely proud of him.

He has been an easy child to raise which is good because I didn’t always do the right thing when it came to parenting. I spent a lot of time getting divorced while he was younger and that was surely disruptive to him.

Aside from the first few years when he was just a blur of blond hair running around with me chasing after him, he has been a breeze. Strong willed like his mother, he still managed to be respectful when voicing his opinions.

He kept me on my toes and taught me about humility. When he was about two I decided it was time to potty train him. This was back in the 90s before we let kids do whatever they wanted like nurse until they were 10 or use a diaper until they figured it out on their own. It was called training for a reason. Mostly because it was a lot like training a puppy.

Alex didn’t want to have anything to do with potty training. He was having none of it.

I figured that since he could talk, rather well, we could just have a discussion about the process, what was expected, what the rewards would be (me not having to change his diaper anymore) and that would be it. The transition from diaper to toilet would easy.

It wasn’t.

I was sure that this day would come and he would still be wearing a diaper.

He isn’t. He figured it out in his own time, not long after I gave up on the process.

From that experience I learned he was the kind of kid who needed to figure things out on his own. He has been my go-to computer problem solver since he was six years old. Not because he was a genius so much but because he had no fear. He was willing to try anything and willing to learn anything. And if he broke it it wasn’t like he had to pay for it.

My son is one of those people who can admit he doesn’t know the answer and then he will go and find the answer. While I am sure he has had a lot of great teachers he is mostly self taught. He learned the things he did because he wanted to know about them, not because someone told him he had to learn it for a test.

My son is kind. He won’t admit that, he has a reputation to uphold, but he is. A few years ago his sister was getting picked on by another little girl. His sister would come home each day in tears from the treatment of this bully who lives down the street. I’d tried talking to my daughter, to the mother of the little girl and to the girl herself. Finally in frustration we just decided it would be better if she didn’t play with this evil child. Unfortunately this was the only other little girl on the block who was close to her age. It was a long and tearful summer. My son, who picks on his sister to this day relentlessly, took it upon himself to make things right.

He egged their house.

Admittedly it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, especially when you consider he didn’t have a clue how to egg a house properly, but his heart was in the right place. He was sticking up for his sister and that meant more to her than anything.

He got caught and spent the summer doing 25 hours of community service.

He thought it was worth every one of those hours to show his sister that he loves her.

He might not have put it in those words however.

My son has great friends. I love each and every one of them as if they were my own because they are all great kids. Our house has always been the place where the kids hang out. My grocery bill has been the size of the Dugger’s for the past 4 years. That will be ending soon as my son has found an apartment near campus and will be moving out in July. I’m terribly sad to see him go, I will miss him and his friends considerably, but I am looking forward to my grocery bill returning to normal.

My son has a great sense of humor and is fearless in life and love. I’ve learned much from him over the years. I’ve learned that it is best to let him use his father’s car instead of mine right after he gets his driver’s license. I’ve learned that if there is a way to embarrass mom he will find it and laugh about it until I laugh too.

On the day my son was born I fell in love with him. I had never experienced that much love before. If you aren’t a parent it is hard to describe, you feel as if you are going to literally burst open because you love this little life so much. I knew that I would probably never love anyone like that and that much unless they were my own children.

And it wanes over the years. Sure I still love him as much as ever but the feeling isn’t as intense as it is in the beginning when they still smell good and don’t talk back. That feeling returned last night as he was walking up the stage to receive his diploma. I surprised myself by tearing up a bit. Considering it was 103 degrees last night I didn’t think I had any tears to spare but there they were. I kept them under control but realized I wouldn’t be able to for the next stages that are down the road. I will be a mess at his wedding and when he has a child of his own I will cry like a baby with happiness. Of course I will also be secretly hoping he gets a kid who smears the contents of his diaper all over the wall and carpet too.

Congratulations Alex!







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