Monday February 19th will always be for me; an awakening.

Petrified, paralyzed with doubt and fear, I walked into an empty command center. In that moment, I knew that whatever I was before wasn’t enough. The need to be focused, driven, determined and unrelenting permeated every fiber of my being.

It is the unraveling of everything you know and the becoming of something new. Something so foreign that at the end, you wonder how you survived the process.

Pieces of me remain but these new descriptive words have become my mantra. I can do this. I have to. There is no other way.

Luckily, I have moments I can draw on. Brief but their cellular imprint have impacted who I am trying to be today.

Like Patience.

Like the patience of a mother registering her son for high school. 2011.

Grade 9. The transition from elementary to High School. The transformation of child to teenager. I will hereby call it hell day.

We arrive on the appointed day. Oh the thrill of seeing all your friends. The changes. Familiar faces. New faces. My how we have changed.

Unbeknownst to me, you can register for grade 9 in two ways. The smart, efficient, latte in hand as you lounge on your couch way… or the route I took.

Punctual, Forms in hand, chequebook with my very own pen on my very own person, I have come prepared. Every little detail has been thought out and planned for. Register, get text books, student id, school pictures and a quick tour of the school.

I chose my outfit in the same way you would preparing to greet royalty. A beautiful mix of stylish and cute. Not soccer mom but nothing embarrassing either.

Not that it mattered. As soon as we walked into the foyer, I see waves of teenagers like an unending sea of hormones crashing against each other. “ Look Ryan,” I think I might have yelled that. “ We need to go stand in this line”. The kid, not my son, that has suddenly appeared beside me, gives me a pitying look. “Mom, I’m going to find everyone” Ryan calls over his shoulder. “You don’t mind, do you?”

What? No no. I’m a cool mom. Nope. Go on. I’ll be fine. Just waiting in this long line.

And I stood. And I waited. And I listened to mindless chatter about the special effects of today’s cinematic masterpieces. One by one, every special effect, every movie. I debated curling in the fetal position covering my ears but I thought that would make me noticeable.

Why is the line not getting shorter?

Oh, because only one teenager stands in line and they switch each other out. Until it’s their turn. Then suddenly, 14 of them swarm the registration table.

Ryan, bless his heart, comes towards me every 20 minutes or so. Not close enough to be identifiable but I’m certain he was checking on me.

Finally it is my turn! The teacher sitting at the table looks at my rumpled outfit, the tears of exhaustion and mascara running down my face and says kindly, “You must have the patience of a Saint! Most parents just send their kids to register themselves.” I swallowed my sobs and wrote my cheque.

As we walked out of the school, Ryan wondrously exclaimed. “ That didn’t take long. I’m gonna walk home with my friends okay?” He walked away before briefly coming back to kiss me on the cheek. “Thanks Mom.”

For him, I would stand forever.

“Often it is the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self.”

– Karen Salmansohn

I continue to grow every day. I only hope it’s enough.