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Just Another Emotional Milestone, Last Day of School [Photos]

(Courtesy: Karen's Print Rite)
(Courtesy: Karen’s Print Rite)

You close one chapter, so you can start another. My chapter as a parent is ending, and a new chapter is about to begin.

I’ve been on a weird roller coaster of emotions the past few weeks. Today it has me riding out one of those lows. I must admit that I’m a little choked up. But it is not because of anything bad. It’s just another emotional milestone day for my one and only child. This morning, Chase left for his last day of school. That K-12 chapter of his life ends today. A new and exciting college chapter is about to begin.

But he’s not the only one that has to close a chapter and start a new one. Just like millions of other parents before me, my era as a parent and teacher is ending, and my role of mentor is about to begin.

Like it was yesterday, I still remember holding a nine pound, 11 ounce baby boy (yes, he was a big baby) for the first time. Those eyes, still not able to focus on anything, looking at me for guidance. I had heard about that sudden unconditional love that parents told me would wash over me, but their description didn’t do it justice. All though an overwhelming and scary feeling, it was the coolest feeling I’ve EVER felt in my life.

(Photo: Bucky Doren)
(Photo: Bucky Doren)

The past 18+ years I’ve played the role of parent and teacher. Early in his life, I heard more than once that I was too hard on him, but I never gave more than I felt he could handle. I shared my morals and values, and I hoped he would embrace my sense of right from wrong. He chose to follow my path when it came to those matters of heart and mind, but I made sure that he did not walk in my footsteps. I wanted him to become his own person.

(Photos: Bucky Doren)
(Photos: Bucky Doren)

Along the way, I taught him how to treat a person, a woman, and a sense of stewardship. I made sure that he understood that some people may not treat you with the same level of respect. When that happens, it’s okay to stand up for yourself, but not for the shake of revenge. He’s not afraid to learn something new, and he can breakdown a situation and evaluate the best coarse of action.

(Photo: Bucky Doren)
(Photo: Bucky Doren)

There were the typical dad things I wanted to make sure he learned too. Because his dad is a baseball nut who loved to coach, Chase knows what pitch sequence to call when a runner is on second with a 2-1 count and you’re up by one run. Legos allow your creative juices to flow, and the movie ‘Six Pack’ is still the best racing movie ever made. Okay, those might have been more for me than him, especially the last one.

That era of teaching is about to end. Not because of some law or order. Not because I don’t want to do it anymore. On the contrary, I’d love to keep that job, but I know it’s time for it to end. It is time for him to take what he has learned and apply it to his blossoming adult life. I now become more of a mentor guiding him along this new adventure in his life.

(Photo: Bucky Doren)
(Photo: Bucky Doren)

He knew where he wanted to go to college the moment he walked on the campus during a football recruiting visit his junior year. Luckily they have a great computer science program (his major). It’s a Division III school, so no athletic scholarships are available, but because of his hard work on his studies, more than half of his tuition is already paid for through academic scholarships.

When asked if he wanted to do a signing day for joining the football team, he chose to pass on the public display. It’s not that he is ashamed of his choice. In fact he’s quite proud. It’s not his style to make a big scene. “I’d rather let my play do the talking.” Hmm, I wonder where he got that mindset?

(Photo: Bucky Doren)
(Photo: Bucky Doren)

Here’s to you, kid. I’m so excited for him. Okay maybe a little jealous. Time to spread your wings, young man. I’m so proud of the man he has become, and I can’t wait to see how far he grows as an adult.

(Photo: Bucky Doren)
(Photo: Bucky Doren)

I guess now it’s just you and me, Tripp, at the Doren Manse Sports Bar & Grill. Good luck, Chase from the two of us. Keep making us proud!

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