Senior Tag: You’re It

I vowed to ignore it. After recovering from caring for the one with pneumonia, getting bronchitis myself, and a huge uptick in writing projects, I said no. Not out loud, just vowed that I would ignore the entire thing. I didn’t want to be bothered with carrying backpacks, phones, keys and cups of coffee to the car — or retrieve them when they got home. (Participants must be wearing only a bathing suit, no shoes, and hands and all pockets must be completely empty — otherwise, they can be shot — with a squirt gun.)

So, I steadfastly ignored the pile of squirt guns in the back of the car, or the fact that my neighbor’s house has our son’s name and sport emblazoned on a sign in his front yard — to confuse stalkers out on a hunt. We keep our doors securely locked at all times. (Be forewarned: A waiver has been signed, by all the kids, that allows any game player to enter the house if the doors are unlocked.) With track meets, soccer games, writing projects, and good, I’m too busy to bother with all of this!

But honestly, I just didn’t want to remember. I had already forgotten about Senior Tag. I don’t want to remember the last time we played, and how quickly all of it just vanished. And now, he’s spending the summer away at college. I am too happy for him — that he’s made a life, that he loves his life, that he has a job, with friends he loves — away from home.

If I look back too much, it might make me sad — and I only need to be happy for him.

Then, I spotted a bikini-clad girl hiding in my window well one afternoon, who had sent her babysitter to the door to ask where my son was.

And then, I find myself standing in the driveway one night way past 11, while his team members gave me the low down on a recent kill. I have been called to walk down the street, with the dog, to rescue team members from behind garages on failed-assassination missions. I’ve stood outside in the garage and listened to negotiation talks as team members try to coax someone into surrender, in a no-win kidnapping. (Hiding beside the car, and jumping inside when all the automatic locks pop open.) And then, the same frustration welled up inside of me, when just a few minutes later, one of the boys got hit with a spray of water, just as he was coming back home. That same group of bikini-clad girls had been hiding out waiting for him to return. He assumed everyone was fast asleep.

While I initially said no to Senior Tag, because I just don’t want to be reminded of how much things will change — all too soon. But this too will pass, whether we’re ready or not.

But who wants to miss out on all of this fun?


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