The first day of kindergarten,
He hurried to the door,
Shrugging off his mother's hugs,
He didn't need them anymore.

For he was all grown up now,
Too big for all that stuff,
Instead he waved a quick good-bye,
Hoping that would be enough.

Still he couldn't help but look back,
As he hurried through the door,
Seeing tears in his mother's eyes,
He waved to her once more.

And then he left her standing there,
With a sad smile upon her face,
As he ventured onward to a different world,
A new exciting place.

And when he came home from school that day,
She asked what all he'd done,
He handed her a paper, trees upon its front,
And a big round yellow sun.


A picture quite imperfect,
For he'd messed up here and there,
But she didn't seem to notice,
Or she didn't seem to care.

The first day of Junior High,
He hurried to the door,
Running from his mother's hugs,
He didn't want them anymore.

He ignored her calling out to him,
As he hurried down the street,
Near the intersection,
Where his friends had planned to meet.

He hoped that she would understand,
Why he had to walk to school,
Riding with his mother,
Just wouldn't have been cool.


But somewhere near the crosswalk,
He turned to see her there,
Standing on the sidewalk,
Her hand raised up midair.

Hastily he coyly waved,
Then hurried to meet his friends,
Fighting back the urge,
To turn and wave again.

And when he came home from school,
She asked what all he'd done;
He handed her some papers,
With X's marked on more than one.

The teacher clearly pointing out,
The wrong answers here and there;
But his mother didn't seem to notice,
Or she didn't seem to care.


The first day of senior high,
He hurried out the door,
Jumped into the driver's seat,
Of his jacked up shiny Ford.

He left without his breakfast ...
He left without a word,
But he turned and looked back,
Before pulling from the curb.

He saw her waving frantically,
As he drove away,
He tapped his horn just once,
To brighten up her day.

He saw a smile cross her face,
And then he drove from sight,
Onward to a different world,
A new exciting life.


Months came and went,
And at the end of every day,
She would ask about his life,
But he had less and less to say.

He didn't have the time for talk ...
She would have to understand,
He was no longer a little boy,
He'd become a man.

And at his graduation,
As tears shone in her eyes,
He knew the time had come,
To bid his Mom good-bye.

For he was off to college,
Off to better days,
No more rules to abide,
Alone to find his way.


Suitcases filled the trunk,
Of his dirty beat-up Ford,
He couldn't wait to get to school,
To checkout his room and dorm.

She opened up his car door,
Closed it when he got in,
Then smiled proudly at her son,
As tears dropped from her chin.

She reached through the open window,
Wished him luck in school,
And then she pulled him close to her,
And broke the "no hug" rule.


He felt the freedom greet him,
As he pulled onto interstate;
At last his life was his alone,
He anticipated fate.

But college life deemed more challenging,
Than he ever could have hoped ,
There was no time to respond to letters,
His mother often wrote.

He was a grown adult now,
Too old for all that stuff;
His visits during holidays,
Would have to be enough.

Besides, midterms were quickly coming,
The pressure was immense,
He often studied late into the night,
His need to pass intense.


And being a man was harder,
Than he imagined it would be,
His future was at stake,
And all he longed to be.

He wondered how he'd manage,
How he'd ever cope;
What if he failed his tests?
Would there be no hope?

As if he had a calling,
He headed down the interstate,
Driving at full speed,
The hour getting late.

He pulled up to the curb,
Where once he used to roam,
And went through the open door,
Of his mother's home.

She was sitting at the table,
With a drawing in a frame;
Memories from the past,
That brought both joy and pain.


She didn't need to ask,
Why he was home from school,
Because she knew the answer,
When he broke the "no hug" rule.

His arms around her tightly,
Peering at the drawing he had done,
Lots of trees, imperfect branches,
And a big round yellow sun.


She smiled a knowing smile,
And then she spoke aloud,
"Son you always did, and you always will,
Make me very proud."

"For look how far you've traveled,
From that little boy so brave,
Heading off to kindergarten,
Your hand up in a wave."

"And through the years you've made mistakes,
But son I've made them too,
Being perfect is not an option,
You can only do ... the best that you can do."

"And don't expect more than that,
For life is supposed to be fun,
You've only got one to live,
So you must do what is best for you, son."


Sitting in his dorm room,
When the pressure seems too much,
And all that he is striving for,
Seems completely out of touch.

He peers at the drawing,
Of a big round yellow sun,
And then he is reminded,
Of just how far he's come.


From childhood to manhood,
Fighting back many a fear,
Through trials and tribulations,
Holding back many a tear.

Knowing that being successful,
Isn't passing every test,
And the only way to falter in life,
Is by failing to do his best.

And the biggest lesson he's learned,
One he did not learn in school ...
That it's okay, for even a man,
To break the "no hug" rule.

~ Cheryl Costello-Forshey ~
Copyright 1999
Used with permission

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