Where have all the school days gone?

Last week the General graduated from high school.  Of course, we haven’t had the HSC yet, so technically it’s not over, but his years of formal education between 9am & 3pm 40 weeks of the year are over. Finished. Ended. It’s really real.

I vividly recall his first day at school – in fact his first day at all 4 schools he has attended (3 primary schools due to a brief move to Canberra & a change of school when we got back to Sydney).  I remember feeling like I’d lost a little bit of my boy when he went off to school as now a big chunk of each day was going to be spent with other people and I would never again know everything that he was doing, or who he was with.  The great thing about sending them off to school though is that it does start that process of independence, I firmly believe that my job as a parent is to prepare my kids to be adults in the world independent of me.

While that’s an admirable goal, it’s not always easy in practice!  Letting go is difficult, even if you don’t have control issues….

Watching Year 12 together for the last time on Friday morning, I was unsure whether to laugh or cry.  It was an emotional morning with the usual speeches & presentations (& a very funny, very UNusual speech from the outgoing school captain) but the emotional part for me was watching these young adults literally on the brink of stepping out into the world of adults.  I find myself wondering where they will go, what they will end up doing with their lives and hoping that none of them find the way too painful.

It’s been a difficult peer group for the entire 6 years of high school. They’ve had more than their fair share of trouble-makers and therefore trouble visited upon them and I’m sure the school is actually heaving a sigh of relief that they are really, finally gone (well, most of them anyway).  The General has managed to find his way to a solid group of like-minded friends, mainly because of his interest in and involvement with school sport over the years.

Looking back on my high school years is a happy memory for me and I hope it will be for the General as well. I have 2 or 3 friends I am still in regular contact with and a further 4 or 5 that extend out from that core few – for example, 6 of us had a wonderful weekend away a few years ago celebrating our collective 40th birthdays.

I wish the collective class of 2010 every success (no matter how they choose to define it) for the future.

image: Graduation Cake Guy by CarbonNYC via flickr