The Final Seventeen

I haven’t been a terribly sentimental mother. I don’t get teary-eyed when my kids move from one stage to the next. But then again, I haven’t enjoyed any stage so far as much as I’ve enjoyed the high school years— although so far the college ones are looking to be a very close second. 

But today my baby boy turns 17, and it hurts my heart just a little bit. Why 17? I think because it goes along with that junior year, which I’ve always told my kids is the best year of high school. (Out of the doldrums of being the “younger” ones, but not yet completely into the pressure of choosing a college or of being conscious of every “last” of the senior year.) 

17 seems to have put behind it much of the drama of the early teens. It has been driving for 2 years— one with an adult, one on its own. 17 is just shy of the I-don’t-need-you-because-I-know-everything stage of 18-21. (Of course you can enjoy those years when you don’t see them on a daily basis!) All in all, 17 has been a bit idyllic with my kids, or maybe I have just seen it that way. 

So as this last year of 17 begins, I feel a little sad. This time next year we’ll say good-bye to 17-year-olds forever. We’ll be the parents of three adults. A good, new place to look forward to, but with a twinge of nostalgia for the days that were 17.