MONIQUE BATSON — How do 18 years pass in only 10 minutes?

Published 12:05 am Friday, August 12, 2022

It was easy to get frustrated Wednesday while filling out what seemed like piles of paperwork in order to get my two children registered for school.

Where did I put their social security cards? What are their student numbers? Does anyone have a home phone anymore? Is there seriously another page?

Until it hit — that was the last time I’d be filling out registration packets for two kids. And as I put the number “12” in the space for grade on my oldest child’s form, immediately my eyes started welling up in front of 15 other people.

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Thursday morning was the Senior Sunrise photo (the seniors take a sunrise photo before the first day of school and a sunset photo before the last day of school).

It took two hours after I woke up before I could bring myself to open Facebook, where I knew so many of my friends would have posted the picture. But I did, and immediately found my child. At 6-feet-3-inches tall, he’s hard to miss.

But not long ago he was a 7 pounds-9 ounce tiny little man who barely fit in newborn size diapers because he was so small.

He was the 3 months old in an elephant costume four times bigger than he was on his first Halloween, because I overdid everything after having my first child. (Trust and believe, this changed a lot once I had four in the house. You want chips for dinner? Hey, as long as you’re quiet.)

But when my now-senior was born, he was my first and only. It would be a year before I’d marry and take on stepchildren, and another year before my youngest would come along.

My son’s entrance into the world wasn’t an easy one. Born with underdeveloped lungs, he was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for a week. And I learned during his birth that I had an allergy to morphine, rendering me too sick to see him until the day after he was born.

But every three hours, cesarean pain and all, I’d walk down the hall to hold my tiny little man for the allotted 15 minutes, feed him and tell him how much I loved him.

Being the overachieving first-time mom I tried so hard to be, I read every parenting book I could and learned if you sang the same song to them every time you put them to sleep, they’d eventually associate the song with bed or naptime. I opted for “Twinkle, twinkle little star.” And still, to this day, I’ll sing it to them randomly just to remember the days when I rocked them to sleep.

I took off work for his first day of kindergarten. He held onto me so tight, I almost took him back with me. But the teacher said it would be best to leave soon, so I walked away and cried for hours.

Now my tiny guy is involved in everything. He’s a percussionist, a section leader in the band, and fluent in sign language. He’s almost never home, always out with a large group of friends that he’s been almost inseparable from for years.

He can drive. He has a bank account. He doesn’t need me to pick out his school clothes anymore.

And sometimes I worry he doesn’t need me anymore. I suppose every parent does at some point.

Wednesday will be his first day of school, along with my son who is a sophomore, so if you stop by The Port Arthur News office and happen to see a woman crying for seemingly no reason at her desk, please forgive her. It’s just a mom with a soon-to-be empty nest learning that when they say it goes by quickly, they didn’t lie.

 

Monique Batson is Port Arthur Newsmedia editor. She can be reached at monique.batson@panews.com.