My two youngest children were ready. My husband would be ready in a few minutes, but I still had to straighten my hair and then get dressed. Normally I am the first one ready to go anywhere, marshaling the rest of my lagging troops. But today was different…my firstborn son Jim, was graduating from high school. Memories of his childhood flitted around my mind, slowing down my usually prompt ablutions. Pausing in my pursuit of sartorial grace, I sighed and thought about just how quickly 18 years had passed. I remember when Jim was just born- he was so small…so beautiful…so loud!
We tried to have our children a few years apart, but nature does not always go along with your plans. Our second, Edward was born 7 years later and then our third child, Henry 2 years afterward. So Jim had a chance to experience many firsts. The first car, the first apartment, the first home and then the 2nd car. He was the first to ride the family bicycle with training wheels and the first to break a bone; and thankfully he only broke one. He was also the first to use his father’s cologne, Polo.
In 8th grade for his graduation he asked his father if he could wear some of his Polo cologne. There was going to be a dance after the graduation ceremony and he wanted to smell good. My eyes teared because my boy was fast becoming a man, or maybe because Jim decided (like most boys) that if a little smelled good a lot would smell better! We managed to tamp the smell down a bit, but it really proved fortuitous that the lovely girl Jim was escorting had a rather bad case of hay fever…and couldn’t smell a thing!
Polo became a mainstay in our household. Jim tried different scents but he always came back to Polo because it reminded him of an important father son bonding moment. Jimmy didn’t just borrow his father’s Polo in 8th grade; he also received his first shaving lesson. That moment always stuck with Jim, Polo was forever linked with his first steps on the road to adulthood.
Back to the present day and we are all rushing out the door, but Jim is already at the ceremony with his friends. I wonder at the new friendships he will make as he continues on to the next phase of his life, College. Jim will be attending the Naval Academy, and what a fine Officer he will make; he will do a wonderful job of leading men. He has been leading his younger brothers for many years and they look up to him every day. Both his father and I could not be more proud and I know that when he leaves in the fall, his luggage will contain a bottle of Polo cologne.