Today is the first day of the last quarter, of the last semester, of the last year of my son’s public school career. 44 days, 9 more weeks, 9 more Mondays. I know these weeks will fly by, but I sit this morning seeking to cherish this final lap in the race of becoming an adult.
Today will be a return to a somewhat normal schedule. Hybrid learning is over. All the students will be in the building at the same time, generating spring energy throughout the halls. I don’t think there will be the typical “senioritis” this year. These students have longed to be back together, to experience the everyday moments of high school existence…tired Mondays, laughter over a spilled drink, the pressure of getting to class on time, huddling over a funny video on Youtube, groaning over yet another assignment. While also still holding out hope for the extraordinary moments…prom, senior picnic, graduation, open houses, farewell parties.
They communicate via hand signals on the field. They huddle around the ipad watching film. They discuss plays over a dry erase board. They stand shoulder to shoulder on the sideline analyzing the game execution. Coach and player. Father and son.
Watching from the stands, I am on the outside looking in. But I know what I see. A season in life that will be bitter sweet. One we will look back on with fond memories. One that is slipping away and will be gone before we want it to be.
It’s part of the family DNA. Coaching, teaching, making an impact on young lives. My husband and his 2 brothers were coached by their father. All three went on to become high school teachers and coaches. They have impacted countless young men, but their most valuable impact has been on their sons and learning life lessons through the game of football.
As I prepare my heart for what might be the last game where father coaches son, I am not ready. One is still the young coach holding his infant son smiling after a victory. The other is still the 8 year old ball boy running on and off the sideline. Eighteen years of father and son together on the field. I’m sure in those final hugs there will be tears of joy and sorrow but most of all tears of gratitude for getting to experience something so special.