Senior year sentiments

I am upset that life as we know it is coming to an end — who’s with me?

In a little more than eight months the life we’ve known for the past 17 years will be over.

Here are two facts that might help that sentence make sense:

  1. Our daughter is in the first quarter of her senior year of high school, which means by this time next year — depending on where her aspirations take her — she’ll very likely be sitting in a dorm room instead of our living room.
  2. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic.

Still, if you were to poll every single person in our house who is not my daughter about the demise of life as we’ve known it, you’d find that I seem to be the only one rather distressed about it. The routines we’ve known since September 2002 will end, and apparently no one is thinking about this but me.

“Next June, she’ll graduate, and it’s over,” I told my wife recently. “All those questions we had when she was born — what do you think she’ll be like? What will she want to be when she grows up? We’ll have all those answers and it will all be over. Done.”

She looked at me like I was a crazy person.

“You don’t think of things in those terms, do you?”

She does not. She also reminded me that when our kid does pick a college, there will still be these inventions called phones and texts and email and FaceTime.

Still, of the three people in our household, one is completely nonplussed by the imminent finality of things, one is rather plussed indeed, and the third one is just kind of living it, so she has no frame of reference. Technically, the other one’s a dog and he doesn’t get a vote.

The second part of the conversation went like this: “I guess it’s just the next phase of life.” And it is. When my wife was about to give birth, our neighbor explained that the life we had known up to that point was over, and now we would be living a new one. She was right, and it’s been a good one — which is why I’d rather just maintain the status quo: more first day of school pictures, more school concerts, more getting her lunch ready and more family trips to Walt Disney World.

Her mom reminded me that a lot of those things will remain unchanged. There will be plenty of pictures and we will go to Walt Disney World again, because offspring or no, I’m getting in line for the new Star Wars land. We will (very likely) retire from making her lunch every day, though, so it’s not all heart-wrenching.

Here’s to hoping her senior year goes by very slowly, and she enjoys every moment. Because just yesterday it was 1985 and I was in her shoes — except they were high-top Reeboks paired with some sweet acid-washed jeans.

Maybe it is best things are the way they are.

Bill Burke is a writer who should probably stop thinking of things in these terms. He lives in southern New Hampshire with his much more pragmatic wife and daughter. He is also Managing Editor of Custom Publications for McLean Communications.

Categories: Dad on Board