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The First of the Lasts

When one season ends, remember there are new joys to be found in the next one.

September is the start of a new season for kids and parents. The first-day-of-school photos have been shared on social media, and now it’s time to get into a new routine.

As a farmer, you are probably better than anyone at adjusting to new routines based on the season. You sow during planting season. You reap during harvest season. You check cows during calving season. You do what needs to be done, whatever the season.

This year, our oldest son, Jake, is a senior, so the first day of school wasn’t just the first day of school. It was his LAST first day of school. He was just in preschool a few years ago. Now he’s 18 and leaving for college in less than a year.

When our three boys were little, I felt sorry for parents of teenagers and adult kids. Their babies were gone. When lamenting how quickly time was passing, several parents of older kids told me, “Every age is the best age.” 

I didn’t believe them. I thought they were just saying that to make me feel better. As our sons grew, however, I realized they were right. Yes, sometimes I look back at those pictures of my preschool-age boys and miss holding their little hands. I might go back in time for a day if I could. 

Although teenagers tend to get a bad rap, I’m enjoying my teen sons more than I ever thought possible. They don’t need us every second of the day, but they still come to us when they do need us. They surprise us by figuring things out. They are smart and funny. They challenge us in ways we sometimes wish they wouldn’t, but seeing each one become his own person is amazing.

Watching Jake grow up has been such a gift. The little boy who idolized Indiana Jones is making plans to major in history at his dad’s alma mater. The mini farmer who once was excited to be big enough to open gates is now teaching his younger brothers how to take over his chores of feeding cattle and fixing fence.

Jake’s season as a high school kid is winding down. The days of having all of our boys under one roof are numbered. I can’t promise I won’t shed a few tears this year as I watch him walk through these lasts, but I know it will be OK, because every age is the best age.

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