My oldest son graduated from 8th grade.  Now to many of you that might sound like a big deal, but for me it is. It is the last time he will be a student in the school he has been attending since kindergarten. This month has been a month of lasts. And all of these lasts are life-changing.

This month we chaperoned his last field trips, watched him present his 8th grade project and just last week watched him and his friends graduate. They are all moving on to different high schools and they won’t see each other on a regular basis. There have been many tears, mostly from me, as all these lasts have happened.

For last past few years, I have been watching him grow.

He’s grown up. He is now a few inched taller than me, and I am 5’12”.

He’s grown smart. He gives me information that I never knew. He fixes things I had no idea he knew how to fix. He seeks out information on diverse topics and forms his own opinions which he shares with me.

He’s grown independent. He sets an alarm, makes his own breakfast, does most of his chores without being reminded. He doesn’t always need me to anything for him, except drive him places, but he keeps reminding me that he will have his learners permit in 6 months.

But lasts don’t always mean an end.  The last of something often results in a first of something else. Something new and life-changing.

As I am approaching my 50th birthday, I have spent a considerable about of time thinking about my lasts and firsts. Over the next month and a half, 50 days, I will explore things that make me uniquely me. Some things I have learned over the last 50 years. Some things that have taken me to my lowest lows and rocketed me to my best days ever.

I hated 8th grade. Middle school can be a terrible time and all the clichés of middle school I experienced. I wasn’t comfortable with who I was. I had no idea who I wanted to be. I was happy to be done with 8th grade. I couldn’t wait for the last day.

My oldest hasn’t had that same experience. His middle school was so very different from mine, but he’s  told me that he is ready to move on, and I truly know that he is. I loved high school and I have a feeling he will too.

I know that there will be things that he will miss about is old school – his friends, the teachers – but he has so many firsts ahead of him and I cannot wait to see him soar.