Today is my son’s last First Day of School. The last time I ask him to – begrudgingly – pose for that oh-so-important First Day of School photo.
There’s something just a bit heartbreaking in the realization that this is the very last time I will experience a First Day of School with one of my children. My older two are out of school altogether, and my son’s future First Days will probably be on a college campus some distance from our home in the Atlanta suburbs. I’m feeling nostalgic and, yes, a little teary this morning. I’ve been going through old photographs, finding some pretty special memories in the boxes on my shelves. Like his first day of preschool. And his first soccer game. And his first tennis lesson. Photos with my now-deceased grandfather and with friends we have lost track of over the years. The wonderful birthday cakes my husband decorated each July 18th.
As I look at the photos of my son’s very first day of preschool next to his first day of Senior Year, I am reminded of all the incredible people we’ve met and experiences we’ve had – the teachers who helped shape him, the coaches who taught him more than simply the rules of the game, the friends who have been there through the entire journey and those who have come and gone along the way.
Next year around this time, he will be starting his first day of college and, hopefully, his first days as a collegiate student-athlete. There’s a lot to look forward to, but I’m hoping we can both stay focused on The Now and enjoy the moments right in front of us.
Lately, several people have asked me what I’m going to do with ParentingAces once my son is done with the juniors and leaves for college. So far, I haven’t really come up with a good answer. The obvious one is that I’ll shift my focus from Junior Tennis to College Tennis. But that doesn’t feel quite right. After spending 10+ years in the Junior Tennis World, it seems wrong somehow to abandon it cold turkey. Maybe I can convince one of you to be my eyes and ears on the ground at the junior tournaments so I can continue to write about what’s happening? Or maybe one of you with younger players wants to take up writing for this site? I don’t know. I guess I still have several months before I have to make that decision.
For today, though, I’m going to let myself wallow in reflection and memories, going through these boxes of photos, riding the rollercoaster of emotions contained therein.