June 17, 2004
No Doubt

the graduate

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 of 2004.  

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 all.



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. 


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~ nil bastardum carborundum ~
their 'class song,' interestingly enough, was
"dream on" by aerosmith.
[i wonder if they dream about BALLOONS?]