Today was the last time I will drive with my oldest son to high school.

Today is the last time we will listen to the Sherman and Tingle Show on Q101  on the way to school.

Picture by K. Conners

Today is the last day for seniors to show up to school. In two weeks we will gather together for graduation and it will be over.

I started having these feelings of grief strongly about a week ago when he was getting ready for prom.

Picture by Taliesin

I knew this was his last one as a high school student.  A few weeks before that, his girlfriend and I were talking about how in a few months he was moving out and we were going to have to get used to that.

Josh will be living in Chicago with his father while going to school, majoring in animation. He will not be around everyday. You can guarantee that when he does come to visit, there is not going to be a whole lot of time spent with mom. Our dog, Storm, is on track for more face time but that is only after the girlfriend.

I have never planned to fall into a weeping mass when this time arrived. I want to be strong for my son because I want him to have no regrets in starting anew somewhere else. I don’t want him to think “Oh my God, mom is freaking out.”

Needless to say I am not, NOT, listening to Suzy Bogguss sing Letting Go (http://www.last.fm/music/Suzy+Bogguss/_/Letting+Go) or the Dixie Chicks talk about Wide Open Spaces (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlDPPu53V80).

If I do, I will be crying my eyes out and there will be no amount of chocolate that can heal a broken heart. These are the warnings they do not give you in that non-existent handbook on parenting. The kid will leave your house and break your heart. It used to be all of your pretty things the kids would break, now it is the one part that cannot be fixed with a bottle of Gorilla Glue.

Luckily, I still have others at home. My girlfriend, Gigi, says they will blunt the force of the loss. But in the end, when that last one goes, it will hit harder than all of the rest. Seeing that she has a ten-year-old and I have a five-year-old at the end, we both still have some time.

When that last child leaves, breaking our hearts into a million pieces, we both agreed it will be time to do the one perfect thing.

Picture by Bad Robot

Get a puppy.

Karyn Bowman lives in Kankakee County with her outdoor writer husband and four children. Become friends with Karyn on Facebook.

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