The End of Senior Year: This Mama’s Heart isn’t Ready to Say Goodbye

My son's senior year feels like the longest and most bittersweet goodbye...

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: The End of Senior Year: This Mama’s Heart isn’t Ready to Say Goodbye

Written by: Marybeth Bock

I’m trying not to think too far ahead. I’m trying to live in the “now.” Mostly, I’m trying to take in all these precious days with my son knowing that life is about to change in a big way for him and for me… but it’s so hard.

Every day brings yet another reminder that my son’s high school graduation is a mere few weeks away. My to-do list is long and my calendar is packed with activities and events leading up to his graduation in May. The senior breakfast, senior luncheon, senior pictures, senior parade… how did we get here so fast?

It seems like just yesterday my boy sheepishly walked into his high school as a freshman newbie. Unsure of himself but so ready for the change from middle school. And here we are…

Pushing all my raw emotions aside, I lie in bed at night thinking about the stamps I have to buy to mail out his graduation invitations. I wonder if the tablecloths I want to buy will be cheaper on Amazon or at Target. I keep going back and forth on the food I should serve at his grad party, and I find myself already worrying if we’ll have decent weather that day so we can hang out on the back deck and set up the cornhole game and badminton set in the yard.

I figure if I focus all my energy on the celebration of his upcoming graduation, maybe I can avoid thinking about what the end of his senior year actually means. 

I’m so eager to have my son start this new chapter in his life. I’m so excited to see what it will bring. But it’s taking me a while to get used to the idea that he won’t be part of my day-to-day life. Because no matter how hard I try to prepare myself, this mama’s heart isn’t ready for that. In fact, this mama can’t bear the thought of it.

For me, my son’s senior year feels like the longest and most bittersweet goodbye…

The End of Senior Year: This Mama’s Heart isn’t Ready to Say Goodbye


I’m not ready to get up in the morning and hear silence – to not hear his shower running or his music playing or not see him rushing around like a madman gathering up all his stuff to put in his backpack while I make his lunch. I’m not ready to stop hearing him say, “Bye! Love ya, Mom!” as he heads out the door ten minutes late as usual, patting the dog’s head on his way out. 

I’m not ready to give up Friday nights and Saturday afternoons on the bleachers watching him play his favorite sport. I’m not ready to say goodbye to watching him take his hat off to brush the sweat out of his eyes, to hear him laughing with his teammates and competing for another win so he can add another trophy to his already crowded shelf in his bedroom.

I’m really not ready to sit at our kitchen table and see an empty seat that’s “his,” close to the platter with the napkins so he can easily reach over and grab another – the same seat the dog sits near because she knows he’ll secretly pass her a few nuggets under the table when he thinks I’m not looking.

I’m not ready for the family room to be quiet and empty on Saturday nights without eight teenagers sprawled out on my couch with blankets and pillows thrown around while they nibble on popcorn and watch a scary movie.

I’m not ready to get up in the morning and see the garbage can and recycling bin overflowing with soda cans, water bottles, and empty potato chip bags because they got the late-night munchies and ate me out of house and home.

I’m not ready for my son and all his buddies to scatter in different directions – all venturing off to different colleges and paths in life. I know he’ll see most of them again on holidays and summer breaks, but I also know things will never be the same. I’m not ready to say goodbye to seeing them together – at prom with their dates looking dashing, piling in the car to run out for food because they have a craving for nachos, or getting together to study because they’re all struggling in World History class.

I’m not ready to walk by his bedroom and see a neatly made bed. No clothes strewn on the floor. No notebooks and flashcards spread out all over the desk. No water bottles, empty cans, and candy wrappers piled on the nightstand. And no video game console blinking in the dark.

I’m not ready to think about him sleeping in a dorm, so many miles away from here – from his home, from his family, from me.

I’m not ready for our dog, his buddy since he was young, to stand by the door with her tail wagging, expecting him to walk in and play ball with her. 

I’m definitely not ready to have to wait weeks or even months to give my son a warm hug. It seems almost cruel, after all these years, to imagine him not being home with us every day, not being able to hear his laughter or watch him grow up and change a little more each day.

My son, please know these days are hard for me…

I know you’re capable and so ready to spread your wings, but I’m not ready to send you into the world quite yet. In fact, the mere thought of dropping you off at college, saying goodbye, and driving away brings me to tears and takes my breath away.

So, throughout these next couple of months be patient with me while I adjust to the thought of letting you go. Let me take a ton of silly pictures. Let me savor the tiny moments and the sound of your laughter. Don’t freak out when I smell your hair when I hug you and cling to you a little longer than usual. Let me just look at you and study your face, your profile, and the sparkle in your eyes. 

You are the light of my life. Never forget that, sweetheart.

Today, tomorrow and always you can count on me to be here for you, to protect you, support you, always have your back, cheer for you, and love you unconditionally. 

No matter how far away your journey takes you, just know that I love you with everything I’ve got… even if my heart isn’t ready to let you go.


Marybeth Bock, MPH, is Mom to two young adults and one delightful hound dog. She has logged time as a military spouse, childbirth educator, college instructor, and freelance writer. She lives in Arizona and thoroughly enjoys research and writing – as long as iced coffee is involved. Her work can be found on numerous websites and in two books. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.


If you enjoyed reading, “The End of Senior Year: This Mama’s Heart isn’t Ready to Say Goodbye” you might enjoy reading these posts, too!

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With the end of senior year quickly approaching, what is your heart feeling? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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