May 18, 2019. A few months ago I was told that Nikolas had his long awaited FCM School Band completion in Williamsburg and Busch Gardens trip coming in May. Even though I knew the Band Director needed chaperones, I didn’t think much of it as I was certain that’s something Nikolas would want to do on his own. Shortly after, I got asked to photograph a wedding on that same day. Before taking the job I figured I’d ask Nikolas one last time what his preference was. At first, in his typical teenage manner he didn’t care either way, but after I told him that I didn’t care either way and that I’d do what he prefers he said: “Well, this is important to me. I want to remember this. So yeah, I want you and your camera there.” I couldn’t fight the tears... Oh all the feels that hit at the same time... My teenager wanted me to be where he and all of his teenage friends would be! My teenager knows that that when something's important, you bring the camera! Gosh I love that kid!
So today, even though we had to get up at 3:30 am to make it to the school on time, I tried to remember the last time I chaperoned with him: Field Day in Kindergarten, a long, long time ago. Then, too, he asked me to be there and so proudly showed me off to his friends. It’s a little different now, my soon to be 9th grader was surrounded by his friends the entire four hour drive. He had very little time for him mom and certainly didn't choose his mom over his friends the entire day. In fact, the teenage attitude reared its ugly head a few times almost making me wonder why I even came. But... But, my momma heart is as full today as it was back then even though I was the bag, phone, wallet holding lady constantly counting to 7 to make sure the teenagers I’m in responsible are still with me. I got to know Nikolas' friends and put faces to all these different names I've heard during the year. I got to witness my son struggle with being a teenager among his friends and a teenager with his mom around his friends. This is not an easy place to be at and certainly is a skill that requires mastery. And even with a few rough patches, Nikolas will have this to look back and remember such an important and formative period and group of people in his life. At the end, I wouldn't trade this trip for anything. Not even three am sleep. I love this kid that much.