School rite of passage

Published 7:25 am Wednesday, August 9, 2006

By By Janet Little Cooper
It wasn't until I heard the words of Northview High School's Dean Greg Bass during freshman orientation last week, that I realized my son is not only entering a new school year, but a new phase of life as well.
The dean's speech came late in the program but when the words "You are now a Northview High School student" came rolling out of his mouth, I froze. It had hit me. My first-born was actually a high school student now.
How could that be? I remember being in the ninth grade. It wasn't that long ago, just more than 20 years ago actually.
So how in the world, did the little boy I carried to the first day of kindergarten while living in Georgia, grow up so fast.
I remember standing in the hallway crying as I watched him through the doorway to his classroom. My heart was broken.
The same sinking feeling I experienced on his first day of school began to fill my body as Dean Bass continued to talk.
Then the school counselor made the comment to the students that their time of public education was more than half way over.
Pure anxiety gripped me at that point. I was still grasping the concept of him being a freshman and then I was faced with the reality that he would be graduating within four years. Motherhood meltdown began.
Needless to say, by the time I left the NHS auditorium I had already envisioned my son's life all the way to the point of me taking care of grandchildren.
Extreme? Yes. But true. Time does not stand still and before you know it, your children are no longer children.
I remember days in elementary school that he would beg me to walk him to class.
I am almost certain that will never happen again. The days of him chattering endlessly about his day and digging school work out of his book bag are over as well.
He has entered a new phase in life and with that I am happy to say that for the first time ever in my son's education, he is excited about going to school.
Much like his mother, he was never a huge fan of school – until this year, his freshman year.
After finding his classrooms and meeting his teachers, my anxieties began to settle and I actually got excited for Austin as well, because I knew that the next four years would be four of the most exciting years in his life.
Shopping for school clothes this year, clarified for me even more so that Austin and I are charting a new course for the next four years together.
Austin, who works every other weekend, bought all of his school clothes with the money he had earned. This in itself was impressive, but his choice of clothing said a lot about him as well. Whereas in years before he looked for tee shirts of any kind his taste had turned to the much more grown up look of polo shirts and shorts that weren't faded and didn't have any holes in them.
As he walked out of the dressing room each time, I realized that my son is growing into a young man.
He has reached – his rite of passage from childhood to manhood and mine from old to older and committed with papers and all!
Janet Little Cooper is editor of the Atmore Advance. She can be reached at 368-2123.