If graduation (which entails the exodus of our children from our homes to spread their wings, embrace adulthood, continue their educations, seek summer employment, etc.) is supposed to be a joyous occasion, then why did we all cry like babies last night?
The teenager doesn't graduate until next Friday night, but last night we attended the graduation of our best friends' daughter, Sara. She and Skyler started K-4 together and remained in the same district until Skyler reached the 6th grade, at which time we made the decision to move her to the school where I was currently teaching. The "first" was a small community school district where we knew everyone, attended church together, softball practice, baptisms, etc. It was hard to move her, but we felt she would be better off in a bigger district because of the academic advantages that sometimes affords.
Anyway, back to my sad night. We were so very proud of the accomplishments of these young men and women and we parents did a pretty good job of stiffling the tears until the class song was played during the Rose Ceremony. By the time the song ended, I was sobbing. Don was a little misty-eyed, too. Keep in mind, this wasn't even our kid's graduation.
I guess what makes this occasion so bittersweet is the memory of the first day that these kiddos started school. Some of them were happy to be there; some (Skyler for one) cried into my photograph for the first week and begged never to return. The stories of their experiences at school, the drama, the romance, the arguments, and fist fights. The bus rides, the ball practices, the dates, and the accidents. There are a million memories attached to this graduating class, many of whom had been together for thirteen years.
Bittersweet, too, because this time is ending and a new chapter is beginning. Will it be a happy chapter? Only time will tell. But for now, we are proud. Not just of them, but of us, too. Didn't we help with homework, projects, and test preparation?
It WAS a happy night. I guess I just got a little sentimental. Imagine what shape I'll be in next Friday, when my own graduate throws her cap?