June 17, 2004
There was never any doubt
that he would graduate.
If I had to crawl seven
hundred miles to TicTac on my hands and knees and drag
him through his commencement
ceremony by the scruff of his neck, he was going to
graduate. (Fortunately, it never came to that.) There
was never any doubt that I would be there to see him get his diploma,
or that David would be sitting next to me in the bleachers when it
happened, or that it would be a joyous and sentimental
occasion, filled with family and friends and Kodak Moments galore.
What was in
doubt -- for me, at least -- was whether or not I
could get through the ceremony in one piece.
I'm not any better prepared
emotionally for this kind of stuff than I was four
years ago. You'd think that once they grow up
-- once they all hit eighteen, and you get a few of these
*rites of passage* under your maternal belt -- that
it starts getting a little easier. But it doesn't. If
anything, the rites of passage are actually becoming more
emotionally wrenching, as time goes by. As I sat there in
the bleachers on Monday afternoon and watched my youngest
child graduate from high school -- a little
boy who not ten minutes ago was flying through
the kitchen with a bath towel pinned around his neck, shouting
"Look out! I'm Bat-Ma'am!" -- I was
reminded once again that time is not my friend ...
that it all passes in the blink of an eye ... that
once a moment is gone, it's gone forever. (I was ALSO reminded
that I had stoopidly neglected to stash any Kleenex in my purse
before the ceremony. But that's what David's coat sleeves
are for.) Amazingly, I managed to ward off any major *Boo Hoo
Moments* for most of the commencement ceremony, and for the photo
opps afterwards, and for the celebratory family dinner that
evening. (Which, as it turns out, The Graduate did not even attend,
although he was certainly there in spirit.) I even held
it together through the painful goodbyes, the following day, the
uneventful flight home to California. I shed a few tears here
and there, of course, but they were quick, quiet, dignified
... barely noticeable, really.
Today, however, I am a mess. A weepy,
snotty, binge-napping/photo-album-perusing/sad-music-playing emotional mess.
But that's OK. If I'm
going to be a mess, I would just as soon have it be over something like
this -- my son successfully navigating through
thirteen years of public school -- than over virtually
anything else I can imagine. And I would just as soon
have it happen now -- today,
alone, in the privacy of my own messy little apartment, in my
Happy Pants -- than while sitting in the bleachers in
front of God and my former in-laws and the entire graduating class
Besides: I know it's not
forever. The storm will blow over in a day or two,
and things will eventually go back to normal. They always
do. And then, once the mood has passed and the photos
have been downloaded and everything has calmed down
again, I can start gearing up for the next hugely
emotional rite of passage occasion. Because one of the absolute
certainties of motherhood -- and of my life -- is the fact that there will always be another hugely
emotional rite of passage occasion, right around the corner.
I have no doubt about THAT at
p.s. i'll be back in a
couple of days to tell you more about the trip
... and to post the obligatory bazillion-megabyte photos for your
downloading 'pleasure.' check back soon.
throw a rock?