I've been cheated.
I wish I was speaking about "Tricks or Treats" or something equally trivial, but sadly I'm dealing with something far more serious. To make matters worse, I have no one to blame but myself.
Back in 2004, we realized that John (our oldest son) needed to be challenged more at school. He was coasting through the day, never having to engage his brain. Knowing that we were pondering a big change, we sought advise from quite a few people: teachers, administrators, family, friends, etc. We came to the decision that John was ready both academically and socially, so he skipped third grade entirely and proceeded directly to fourth grade. In hind-sight, I do think that we made the right decision; it has served him well. He has continued to excel in pretty much every area possible.
There's just one aspect that I didn't think through very well...
In less than two hours, when the bell rings, I will have a Senior. Having knocked his Junior year out of the park, we will now embark on all that is one's Senior year. We've already secured his parking spot (at school) for next year, his Senior pictures have been scheduled, football season (our last!) has officially begun....here comes the whirlwind.
While I continue to be so proud of him, I have recently come to the realization that our decision to skip third grade came at a high price. Unfortunately it wasn't a price to be paid up front - it's just coming due now. Here's the thing: I cheated myself out of a year with him. A year. A WHOLE year. One year from now, not two, he will be graduating. He's hoping to go away to college; if that happens, I will literally lose him a year early. And really, even if he stays here and goes somewhere local, it won't be the same; I'm sure that the dynamic will be completely different. He'll be an adult, a college student. One year. I took one year away.
He's happy as a clam, mind you; it's this mama's heart that is having a tough time with it. Would I go back and do things differently if I could? Probably not. But as we enter this year of "lasts," I know that I'm going to shed more than a few tears. My boy is growing up, as all kids do, but for us it's coming a year early.