by Jeff Vlaming
Dropping your child off for the first day of school, you’re told to expect some emotions. Your kid will be hit with separation anxiety even as you, the parent, may feel a similar pang yourself, watching your child go off into the care of another, in an environment away from home. Tears may be shed.
For my wife, Kathy, and me, we’ve been there, done that. Twice. But what we didn’t expect were the emotions we’re encountering now, at the other end of our kids’ academic ride. With our youngest son’s last day of high school approaching, we’re feeling our own separation anxiety — in preparing to say goodbye to The Waverly School where he’s attended from YK to high school.
At Waverly, both our boys are “lifers.” But as they were seven years apart in school, when the first one, Laird, graduated in 2013, the second was just finishing fifth grade. So while each Vlaming boy attended the school for fourteen years, Kathy and I have been part of Waverly for twenty. We’re the real lifers here – and hence the reason for our sadness. As Trevor graduates soon, he has the summer and college in his sites. His mind, as it should be, is on what‘s next. But as he leaves Waverly, Kathy and I can only look back at the school we’ll be leaving behind.
Over those years, we got to know each of the boys’ teachers — small class sizes and a compassionate, invigorating faculty help make such a thing possible. We witnessed Waverly expand from a single school building into three separate, impressive, beautiful campuses. And we watched the athletic program grow and blossom into cohesive, spirited teams that lead the school to division competitions and even titles. Now with the current coronavirus shutdown, Waverly has seamlessly switched classes to on-line, allowing Trevor to interact with his classmates and teachers and continue learning in real time. It’s just another indication that Waverly will continue to grow and prosper.
So, with a suddenness that’s been approaching in clear sight, our roles as Waverly parents are ending. No one likes to see anything good wrap up, but then again, everything ends – and it can be said without question that as the parents of two Waverly grads, it’s a happy ending. But even with a happy ending, tears may be shed.