In June 5 IssueRussell County NewsBy Wade Daffron, Columnist
So, there I sat, with all kinds of thoughts running through my head.
“It sure is hot in here.”
“That looks like a bug crawling on that person’s back.”
“I wish I had a camera like that.”
Then I noticed my six-year-old son, Drake, walk past me in his nice, white, crisp, cap and gown.
I didn’t know (or had forgotten) there was such a thing as Kindergarten Graduation.
See, when you have as many kids as I do, everything is a blur sometimes…like it is now…wait…OK, the spell has passed.
The levity of the situation struck me when I realized my youngest son was graduating from Kindergarten, and my oldest son, Myles, was graduating from high school…in the same week.
As different as both boys are, they are similar in their wonderment and bemusement as they step out into new frontiers.
Drake asked me if going to first grade meant he would be in a different school (“No.”), if he would have different friends (“No.”), and if he had to “dress fancy.” (“No.”)
Myles and I were talking the other day, and he asked me if I was “nervous” when I went off to college (“Yes.”), if I ever got homesick (“Yes.”), and if I was “scared” about being on my own (“Yes.”)
I also realized there is a good possibility I will not be alive when my youngest child, “Izzy,” who is two, graduates from high school.
Heck, I may be in a pine box before she even graduates from Kindergarten.
When events such as this occur, reality kinda punches you in the gut, then give you a swift undercut to the gym as you’re doubled over in pain.
Now in my early 40s, I have become aware that I will not be a rock star, never write that Great American Novel, or compete in the Olympic games.
(I’m not that bothered about the last one…)
Actually, what I have realized is that it’s not about me anymore.
It’s about the children.
It’s about their challenges, their hopes, their dreams, their…future.
And what, exactly, does the future hold?
Wow, wouldn’t it be great to know.
Sometimes I get panicky and think, “OK, I have five kids, what are the odds that something may happen to one of them?”
“Will they all (or any of them) graduate from college, find a good job, marry happily, etc.?”
Ah, but there’s the rub.
We’re not supposed to know.
It’s all in His hands, and we have to trust Him to take care of things.
And when you think about it, the best advice one can give is, “Follow the Lord, and everything should be alright.”
Of course that doesn’t keep me from worrying about things like bullies, bonfires, bills, beer, bears, or any other threats children may encounter along their way.
Will there be times when I pick up a Drake from school, and he has tears in his eyes from some kind of incident?
Sure there will.
Like father, like son.
Will there be a late-nite call from Myles when he needs something?
I was always amazed how fast my parents could drive from Jamestown to Bowling Green.
With a “first grader” and a freshman in college, I feel like the human example of a candle burning at both ends (And no, that analogy does not involve Mexican food.).
I’m excited, I’m scared, I’m nervous, I’m all the things I have been asked about.
It’s a new beginning, but it makes me realize what a “long strange trip it’s been.”