How many of my friends have kids graduating this week?
Everyone knows kids grow up to fast, but there are events that hammer those moments home like a Monty Python fish-slap to the face.
Graduation from Elementary school is such an event. It was a big moment for The-Youngest, for sure, and the-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and I wouldn’t have missed The-Youngest’s graduation ceremony for all the chocolate in Switzerland. In a way, I think it was as much a moment for us as him.
It’s a massive transition from being a kid to becoming an adult.
You can see it in the way the girls dress, many having had their hair professionally done and nearly all wearing nice dresses and make-up (or as one of the boys remarked, they have powder all over their faces!)
The boys, however, mostly remained delightful goobers, more interested in running around, jumping on things and yelling at each other than wearing nice clothes. To be fair, most of their parents dressed them well, most even had their hair combed and a few, just a few, had shaved. This is all before girls become critical to their existence, before career choices must be made in high school and before all those hormones turn them into surly, distant aliens from planet Your-not-the-boss-of-me.
The event had a theme, of course. A tropical theme. There would be baby pictures (so The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World brought extra Kleenex), the teachers would give a few speeches, and at some point, their graduation certificates would be given out. Then there would be a dance. With at least one terrifying slow dance.
Being me, I filmed everything. Being me, I watched how the kids became more and more nervous or excited, unable to sit still or be quiet. Being me, I marveled at how smoothly the whole process went (and yes, they had practiced it before so it WOULD run smoothly).
I didn’t tear up when the baby pictures were shown, a contrast of what they’d looked like 12 years ago vs what they look like now. I didn’t tear up when they had a very cool presentation about camp. I didn’t even tear up when The-Youngest marched up on stage. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World had, by now, gone through two Kleenex packages.
What got me, and got me hard, was when he came off the stage and I realized how much he’d grown. Not in height, though he was now racing to be as tall as his mom, but how he was growing into a great adult.
At adult parties, he now stuck out his hand and introduced himself. When confronted with a friend who’d been mean to him, he said, “We’ll make up so that last day can still be special.” He mows a neighbour’s lawn who cannot mow the lawn for herself. He makes sure he’s the best host when his friends come over. He knows when his mom needs a hug, or when she needs a good cuddling.
He’s becoming aware of the world around in him, of how he can impact his world for good or bad, and of what amazing opportunities await him.
That’s when I lost it, big fat, wet tears sliding down my cheeks.
Not sad tears.
They were tears of pride.
Remind me of that when I’m nagging him for 900 hours straight to get his homework done!
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