Blog, College Bound, Family, Life, Parenthood, Turning Points, Writers, Writing

Stand Upright and Be Strong

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

— Dr. Seuss


Our youngest got his first college acceptance letter – well let me back up a bit, since this is the year 2015 he was first notified by email…then a postcard came, and finally an actual letter arrived in the mail.

It’s kind of interesting how times have changed over the years, it used to be that the “thin envelope” meant rejection…but now as all the info is available on the school’s website, a simple letter comes, possibly as a formality? Is it for the student who still doesn’t pass on information to his parents even at this stage? Or maybe even just for the Mom to put into the student’s scrapbook?

Anyway, it seems like just yesterday I was getting word that he got a spot in a preschool, phewf. That was a big deal. But, now this?

A friend recently said to me, “Well this is your second time around; it must be easier, right?”

Umm, actually I don’t think that it is. At least not emotionally. Yes, we kind of know what to expect in the coming months. There are milestones on the horizon that include orientations and open houses for prospective students; sure, we’ve been there, done that.

We know that in just four short months, practically to the day, he’ll be crossing the stage in a sea of green and white, with his high school graduating class. There will be awards ceremonies, breakfast with the parents, hopefully a slideshow of old pictures of all the classmates throughout the years, and rehearsals.

He’ll have attended his senior prom, written his last high school tests and exams, attended the final meetings of the Beta Club, the National Honors Society, and FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America)…I mention these clubs because they were opportunities that I did not have, and they sound impressive, right?

Cool stuff that will be behind him before he knows it.

And it will be behind us, too.


Just like his first birthday came and went. And all the wonderful birthdays right up to number eighteen…his latest. All his first days of school, and all the final days before every single summer break.

Thirteen seasons of football came to an end a couple months ago. Over the years there were many seasons of soccer and basketball, even one very informative year of t-ball. Just the one though…


We always asked of our boys that they finish what they started, for them it was sports in particular. There were a few times that this was more difficult than others, but I like to think lessons were learned…no doubt by all of us.

Regardless…that’s a lot of years of sports…and packing school lunches, morning drives before he got his license, spring breaks, and all the millions of forms that I’ve been required to fill out over the years.

In a few short months I won’t be calling him to “get moving” each morning. At least, not until he’s home from college and working for the summer.

I used to have to take him everywhere. First it was take him wherever I went because he couldn’t be left on his own, then it was everywhere he needed to go when he started having his own things.

Callum and Mom

Talking in the car while going to and from all the places can be a very unique time with your kid. Sometimes things are said that they may not otherwise have found the words for. Those were special moments.

He could talk, without feeling like he was under a microscope, so to speak.

Sometimes, as parents, we get so exhausted that these trips dragging our kids around become a wee bit wearisome. But of course I am going to tell you here that I now miss them…it’s typical, isn’t it?

Even…all.the.laundry. You will even miss that. But probably not for a while. I’m speaking for myself here, I suppose, but it’s just that, man…there’s been so much laundry! I’ve been told that someday I will miss it.

All these thoughts have been whirling around my head lately. The flashes of past memories, and those imagined future experiences to come. It’s unlike anything else, but isn’t every stage of parenthood?

You start out as a unit…but its days are numbered.

roller coaster

Before you know it they go and grow up. The nerve. (Haha)

You’re left hoping that you’ve done at the very least a decent job for them. You’re left hoping you haven’t primed them for years of therapy.

You also hope you’ve prepared them for what life will throw at them, because although you don’t know what or when, you do know it will throw things at them. And you hope you’ve armed them with common sense, tools, resilience, strength of character, and a lust for life. Among many, many others.

And of course you can’t know this, and it’s really out of your hands.

Hogwarts Castle

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited, very in fact. It’s just that one glaring thing stands out: this is the last one, the last time. It’s only the second time around for us, but it is our final high school lap.

It’s bittersweet, and it’s absolutely sweet…it’s everything.

Just, wow, it really is here, isn’t it?

There’s always a great unknown out there because we can’t possibly know what’s next, even when we think we’ve got it all figured out. I don’t know what things will be like around here next August when school would typically be starting, I can’t know yet.

I figure it will be weird and strange and it may make my heart feel heavy, it’s been the way things transpired for the last nineteen years, after all.

But then I think of my son being a freshman at a university and that makes me smile…

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

— Raina K Morton  February 3 2015

*Today’s title & end quote: the lyrics from the song Forever Young” written by Bob Dylan
** In notes on “Forever Young” written for the 2007 album Dylan, Bill Flanagan writes that Dylan and The Band “got together and quickly knocked off an album, Planet Waves, that featured two versions of a blessing from a parent to a child. In the years he was away from stage Dylan had become a father. He had that in common with a good chunk of the audience. []
***This awesome song, for me, has been around all my life basically (1973), so I was particularly thrilled to hear the fast version used for the opening theme/sequence of the NBC show Parenthood which just wrapped up with a gorgeous cover played during the final 5 minutes of the series finale last week. Timely & very poignant for me (& many others I know)…buy it here.


2 thoughts on “Stand Upright and Be Strong”

  1. We have had the most interesting and open conversations in the car on the way to “stuff”. I would not trade those moments for anything. From someone who is just beginning this process of sending my children off into the world, I am certain I am excited and not ready all at the same time. It may take me many breakfasts to work all these feelings out. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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