The End of Youth

I just read a great post by Sheila Seabrook about inner beauty.  The way she described her father’s love for her mother was touching as well as her story of feeling awkward in comparison to her siblings. This resonated with me in terms of how much family means to me, how time flies by, and how we need to hold on to what we have today – because that’s all we have.  The future is not in our hands to deal with today.  We can look back and feel our memories.  We can deal with what is happening now and in the present.  But what will happen tomorrow is out of our grasp today.

Last night was my son’s last basketball game of the season.  He’s been playing basketball for three years and will be graduating this June from high school.  We’ve been by his side for three years and attended most of his games.  Last night was Senior Night and it was a miracle I didn’t wail my way through it, except the game was so exciting I was too busy yelling and screaming and waving my “Go Dylan!” sign that the cheerleaders had made for him.

My heart is breaking at the thought that I won’t be able to cheer for him and his team mates any longer, that his days of being on the high school varsity team have come to an end.  I already miss eating dinner, doing the dishes, and then rushing off to the games to shout (and often to pout after their losses).

Having his team mates over almost every day and watching them growing older has been a privilege that has made me smile and now makes me sad because I see their youth slipping away.  They’re now young men.  And I have witnessed the end of their youth.  And I cry.


Posted on February 10, 2012, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Hi, Patti: These rites of passages are so hard on moms. My youngest finally-lol-moved out. I miss our daily chats, watching the way he cuddles the ol’ cat and plays with the pups. My bud…sigh.

    There will be more to come; it’s just the realization this was a biggie for you.

  2. Oh yeah, this is a biggie for me, as you say. After three years of basketball pretty much ruling our lives and schedules, I will really miss it. It actually was the only time we’d ever see him because he’s always with his friends.

  3. Patti,
    Try to look forward to the next phase of your relationship with him. You’ve had many great years with him on the team and it sounds like you didn’t miss a moment. Unfortunately, time marches on whether we want it to or not!

  4. Hey Patti, I kind of choked up as you described the closing of this one passage in your life. Take heart that you have these memories and hold them near and dear. I truly hate to break it to you though…but speaking as a grandmother, those bitter-sweet emotional highs are about to escalate. I have to admit, given how you’ve touched me through these blogs, I’m looking forward to your future loved-filled blogs as your children segue into their lives and that eventual moment when you hold your baby’s baby. I can just see Grandma Patricia holding up those same signs and cheering in the crowd and tears of victory coursing down your cheeks.

    Love ya.

    • Hi Karen! I love how you phrase things and yes, it’s all about the memories – fond and otherwise. As Christy said, I have to look to the future with a positive attitude instead of dwelling on what I’m missing in the past. I will always remember these times and yet, that’s what I’ll say about the next phase! I have a lot to look forward to and that’s what’s important.

  5. I was a very hands-on mom and I went through this with both of my sons. Letting go and seeing them grow into young men is so bitter sweet, but you’ll have those fond memories and they will keep you bonded to your son in a very special way.

    My sons have moved away from me and I think of them every day, but I’m also enjoying my freedom now. I get to spend time doing what I love–writing, and they have the opportunity to enjoy their adulthood and all the trials that come with it. They still call me for advice and sometimes just to say hello. I love that!


    • That’s a great word to describe what I’m going through – bittersweet. Even when he was holding my arm in his arm and we were walking through two lines of basketball players giving him the high-five I was thinking I’ll never forget this moment. It was happy, surreal, sad – all of those – but I wouldn’t have missed it ever.

  6. Though I don’t have children, I understand what you mean about watching the passage of time and feeling sad when one phase in your life comes to an end. Years run away from us, don’t they? I often look up and wonder where the last ten years went.

    Be sure to give your son my congratulations in finishing his varsity basketball years.

    • Thank you, Catie, and I know we all seem to be amazed at the passage of time. I recall distinctly washing the clothes I received for him before he was born and then putting them away in his bedroom. And here he is wearing size 13 shoes, 6 feet 2 inches, 160 pounds! What the heck? What happened?

  7. I know what you mean – but – their youth isn’t gone. Their CHILDHOOD now – yeah, that’s gone – but not their youth! If you get too sad, just think about your son still living with you when he’s thirty. Since that probably won’t happen, everything else is right on schedule. Cheers!

    • Yeah, Christine, they call his generation the “boomerang generation” because they go to college then return home because things didn’t work out or they can’t find a job so the best place for them is home. He’s actually not leaving for college since he’ll be going to a junior college in the area then maybe transferring to a four-year; but ALL of this is up in the air since he doesn’t know what he wants to do. You are right that his childhood is gone but not his youth. Thanks for reminding me of that.

  8. Don’t think of it as an ending, but the beginning of the rest of his life. You have so much more cheering to do for him! Life is truly a circle.
    Best wishes to you and your kids! Anne

    • Thank you for the VERY sound advice, Anne. My New Year’s resolution was to turn negative thoughts around to positive ones and this is a perfect example of when I should do that! It’s the beginning of the next phase in his life and it should be so exciting and I’ll be right there to cheer him on!

  9. Patti, don’t cry too much yet. You’ll need another box of tissues soon. There is always college … sleep in or away … then there are the new girlfriends, the one and only, the wedding and the birth of your first grandchild.

    Better get that economy pack of tissue boxes at the retail store. I think you’re going to need them 🙂

    • Hey Florence! I cry at the drop of a hat, so to speak, so I’m anticipating needing tissues whether it’s a happy cry or a sad one. I’m very emotional when it comes to my kids, especially my son. To see him so BIG after being my baby for so long, tugs at my heart. Yes, a lot is going to be happening and probably will never stop, as long as I’m around to experience it!

  10. Very touching, Patti. I know how hard this is on you. And you’re absolutely right. We should all enjoy what we have today because things are forever changing. But with change brings new experiences as well. 🙂

    • You’re absolutely right, Rhonda. The changes he’ll be going through bring new experiences that will also be fun and I’ll remember those with fondness as well. Phases – that’s how I have to look at my children’s lives. Our lives will be going through phases as well, along with theirs.

  11. Oh Patti, I know how you feel. That moment when you realize that they’ve grown up and are ready to start a new life is heartbreaking. But there comes a time when you discover that you have a new life, too, one free of the responsibilities that you’ve shouldered since you became a mom. It’s actually quite nice. And then, of course, there are the grandchildren to look forward to. 🙂

    • It’s that “new life” of mine that I am scared of – the one without them here on a daily basis. I know that I will get used to is, just as every mom does. But the impending thought is something I am trying to prepare myself for and right now I’m not ready. Everyone is different and I’m trying my best to put a positive spin on this. And, as you said, there are those future (maybe) grandchildren to look forward to!

  12. Why haven’t I found this site before???

    Patti, loved your post and brought back memories of times I watched my son’s games as well and nieces and nephews. Those last games when you know this stage of life ends for them is bittersweet. Bitter because this phase of life is over and they move further into adulthood; sweet because the stage is over and they didn’t get seriously hurt. 🙂

    • You know, Casey, I never thought of the fact that he only was hurt once and it wasn’t that bad and he was able to play in a few days. And forever grateful he didn’t enjoy playing football! Thank you for commenting.

  13. I remember the first day of my son’s senior year. I kept telling him “it was his last first day of school!” I spent most of the year thinking everything was the “last” for him. Only to realize now, it wasn’t the last, but really a beginning. While I do miss those high school days (okay, most of them, anyway) I am so proud of my son’s accomplishments since then. Keep the Kleenex handy, Patti, but always know that you’ve done your job well and your son is moving toward life as a responsible adult. 🙂

    • I know I’ll miss his high school days, for sure, and I know that I’ll cry at his graduation, but I do see that he’ll become a responsible adult and everything we’ve taught him will hopefully help him through the years ahead. I do have that perspective, but it’s hard to maintain sometimes. I have to talk myself down from that ledge of sadness that he’s maturing and will be out on his own in no time, I guess.

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