For the first time in 17 years, the first day of school has been absent of that buzz and giddiness that comes with the excitement of a new year.

After two tours in elementary school, four stressful, pain-staking years in junior high and a total eight years in high school, two graduations, four plays, four musicals and more choir and band concerts than I can count on both hands and feet, our poignant commitment to Brown County Schools is officially over.

This weekend, we didn’t spend time rushing around getting clothes and school supplies.

This morning, we didn’t wake the boys up early and listen to them groan as we took “first day” pictures.

This afternoon, we didn’t rush home to hear how school went.

Tonight, the boys aren’t settling down in bed to get up early in the morning.

Instead, the younger spent the afternoon finishing entrance counseling for financial aid, so he can begin his first year of college in New York, and the elder browsed first career positions in his new field, film. Those, too, are in New York.

I miss the days when my little boys threw their new backpacks over their shoulders and acted like little men as they entered the elementary school, and then the junior and senior highs. I remember the joy of having them run up, brimming with excitement, ready to tell me all about their days.

Though I will miss those days, I look forward to seeing where they go from here. They have huge dreams… and enough drive to get them there.

We always told them they could do anything the set their minds to, and they took us seriously. We’ve given them wings, now it’s time for them to fly.

I just wish today had had that “first day” excitement.

But I’m looking forward to many other exciting days in their near future.