Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Graduation tonight--A Parent's View
The holiday of Shavuos has passed, and though it feels like Monday, it is Wednesday...symbolic. Though I feel like I'm in college, I'm far past that, and, as I cannot grasp that it's already mid-week, I cannot accept that it's also midlife. And the babes who I told not to grow have once again disobeyed. It's graduation time.
Four years ago, my oldest graduated high school. This is an intellectual statement. Emotionally, four years ago, she was a toddler. Now she is taking a fifth year in college; her friends, ones I don't even know, are getting married. One in her small high school class already has a year-old baby. My second daughter is so loving her college sorority life that she regrets it's half over. My baby--now six feet tall--can't wait to get his driver's license in seven weeks so he'll be independent.
I was looking through his high school yearbook at the children whose graduation ceremony I'll attend tonight. Like my son, they have no business completing puberty. And while they will make their folks--my peers and friends--proud tonight, the parents will feel a loss. Been there, done that: It may be a couple of months before their babes actually depart for college, but nonetheless, graduation is no fun.
So, as I leafed through the yearbook, I couldn't help but get emotional. "This is why we raise them!" said the mom of the classmate who already has a baby to me the other day. "We want them to go out into the world and make their mark!" Well, yes, in theory. But inwardly, we don't, because when they leave us, they take a focus we've built since they were born. Though we're busy professionals; though we have deadlines and projects and classes and duties, there's nothing quite like having your child right there at home, safe and fed and cared-for.
To all the graduates, mazel tov! To all the parents...bring kleenex.