We have a graduate!

April 30, 2024

Written By

Tabitha Dumas

Our oldest son is graduating from high school on May 23rd!

Basha High School Class of 2024

He’s been attending since 7th grade when he started at their advanced middle school. He participated in choir from 7th through 11th grades. He was a member of the premiere performing choir for 9th through 11th grades and you’ll see his Noteworthy sweatshirt in the photo.

He is Andrew IV, named after my husband’s father’s father.

He’s into the Bible, history, gaming of all kinds, writing and music.

Andrew is consciences, well-spoken, witty, kind-hearted, creative and has a spectacular vocabulary.

He’s a natural teacher and has been speaking in full paragraphs since a very early age. At his kindergarten evaluation, the teacher who tested him said, “You do know you have a math genius here, right?” He was always an excellent student.

He was the kid who stayed after class to talk to his teachers.

This was from 2010 when he was five…

…to 2023 at age 18.

I adore him so much more now.

As I often remind him, I love him AND I like him.

I won’t go into all the “reasons Andrew is awesome” but I will publish something I wrote recently about motherhood.

“Just You Wait” Essay

Throughout my 18+ years as a mother, the common refrain I’ve heard over and over again is “Just you wait!” The earliest instance I can remember was when, in the early days with a nursling in my arms when I commented on how peaceful and ‘easy’ it was, a woman replied, “Just you wait until he gets teeth!” When he started to become mobile and I’d stay close to monitor what went into his mouth, a different woman remarked, “Just you wait until he’s walking and into everything!” With every phase, it was the same:

“Just you wait until he starts talking back!”

“Just you wait until he decides what food he doesn’t like!”

“Just you wait until …” (fill in the blank with whatever terrible experience she had had with her own kids)

It felt foreboding—like motherhood was a series of increasingly difficult challenges. Oh, you might be enjoying it now, but that will come to a swift and sudden end, Little Mama! Whatever phase you’re in currently, there’s a more challenging one coming!

The concept seemed to be, “if you’re enjoying your kid, that’ll be over soon…and if you’re struggling now, it just gets worse.”

Not exactly an encouraging or edifying message to new moms.

But as I gather photos of my son for his class of 2024 high school graduation slideshow, order his cap and gown and plan the outfits for his senior portrait session, I find myself reminiscing about his toddler years when he took his beloved toy trains everywhere he went. His elementary school years when he had his nose in a book and his teachers would say “I wish more students were like your son.” The teen years of choir concerts and late-night homework projects.

There are so many joyful memories of the neighborhood kids playing in our back yard, the holidays spent carousing with cousins, the loud and messy playdates, movie nights, birthday parties and D&D sessions. Midnight baking sessions, early-morning car rides, chaperoning fieldtrips, flying kites at the park.

In retrospect, we’ve never had a “bad phase.” Each one has had its own unique challenges, yes, but also new joys.

Now at 18 he’s one of my favorite people. I often remind him, “I don’t just love you. I like you.” He says, “Thanks, Mom” with a shy smirk. He compliments my p.b.j. sandwiches (I know it’s a ploy to get me to make him a sandwich and I do not mind), asks me how my day was, shares funny memes and teases me about my quirks.

When he’s in a chatty mood, I drop everything to talk to him. He knows more history than I do. He’s witty and insightful. He’s also 6’1”+ with a beard and can pick me up like it’s nothing. We’re having a blast.

Now that my firstborn is an adult, I want to go back to those women who “warned” me when he was little. And I want to shout it from the rooftops to the new moms!

JUST YOU WAIT.

Just you wait until he teaches his younger brother to stack blocks. To climb a tree. To apologize to a friend.

Just you wait until he reaches out to the classmate who never talks and befriends him.

Just you wait until he says the blessing before Thanksgiving dinner and the in-laws have to wipe their eyes.

Just you wait until he’s 12 years old and his sister is born and he’s holding her for the first time and says, “Now I know what happy tears feel like” and your heart completely melts.

Just you wait until you he’s a young adult and you hand him his favorite lunch with chocolate milk and cookies that spell his initials and he says, “I feel blessed.”

Just you wait until he hugs you for no reason, comes to you for relationship advice, asks how your speaking gig went, and cheers on his brother’s football team even when they’re playing against his own high school.

Yes, Mama. Just you wait. Because it just keeps getting better.

Graduation announcement and invitation

1 Comment

  1. Alicia Kern

    I love that you say you love him AND you like him! Kids need to hear that. Proud of your boy! :)! Happy for you all! Happy Graduation year, Andrew!

    Reply

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