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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rites of Passage

Last night, as I sat in attendance at the Baccalaureate ceremony for my older daughter's graduating class, I was reminded of something my mother had told me years before. She told me to enjoy every minute with my children to the fullest while they are young because the time flies so quickly that one day, you are brushing out the curls on your two-year old's head, and the next, you are watching her prepare to graduate from high school. The years fly by fast, my mother said. Now I know precisely what she meant.

The funny thing is, last year, when my daughter went to the Prom, I didn't feel this sentimental. Sure it was an important rite of passage and I was all choked up when I watched her get out of the limo at the little pre-prom ceremony at the school. Thankfully, I had my younger sister there to keep me from getting too emotional and blubbering - little did I realize, until we left together, that my sister was feeling the same as me! This is her god-daughter, after all. Still, it didn't bother me that much because I figured, I still have time.

Well, that time just flew by. At warp speed. Senior year - gone in a flash. Like it started at Day One and skipped right ahead to the last day of high school. Ever. Where did the time go? How did the year fly by so fast? And why was it this ceremony that made it all hit home to me? It was just a night of songs and readings which concluded with a pledge between the students and the adults to make their world a better place to live. No big deal, right? Wrong. As I sat there in that audience, the Class of 2009 in the rows to my left, I looked around at the faces in the audience and it hit me: This was one of the last times I would be sitting within this particular group of people, attending a ceremony with our children. This same (for the most part) group of people I had sat through school plays with, chorus performances, and science fairs. As our children grew up together, so did we.

And now we come to the point where we will sit together, one more time, to watch the culmination of all those dreams, all of that hard work, all of those accomplishments, walk up onto a stage and accept a certificate that will put a stamp on their lives forever. High School Diploma. I will listen as the principal announces names, reads off scholarship winners, and congratulates all of the students in the Class of 2009. I will clap for everyone, cheer them all on, and relish in their achievements. And I will bring extra Kleenex for I know, when it is my daughter walking up there to receive her diploma, I will no longer be able to hold back the tears. My daughter has fought through a lot of adversity in her journey through school, most of it centered around the difficulties of living with a disabled sibling and mother. But through all of the chaos of bipolar tantrums from the sister with whom she had to share a room and the fear and uncertainty of having a mother with Multiple Sclerosis (and sitting in an emergency room with that mother as she received treatments to help her breathe during a scary bout of asthma), my beautiful daughter has not only survived, she has thrived. She's managed to get her work done and keep up an A/B average and will be attending UMASS-Dartmouth in the Fall. And she will be studying to be a nurse.

So, to the Class of 2009, I just want to say congratulations for this achievement and I wish you well on your journey. I hope all of your dreams come true. But to my little ray of sunshine, I want to say you are a daughter that any mother would be so proud to call her own and I still can't beleive that you're mine. But more than that, you are a wonderful person, a compassionate and caring friend, and you are going to make an incredible nurse. I have never been more proud of anyone or anything in my life as I am of you today. I love you with all of my heart.

Thank you for indulging me in this moment of sentimentality,

5 Moonbeams (comments):

Molly Daniels said...

I suspect my own eyes will be overflowing next year when my oldest not only gets his Eagle Scout rank, but graduates from HS.

I attended an Eagle Scout ceremony a few years back; didn't even KNOW the scout very well, but was choked up!

Sheila Deeth said...

A lovely moment. Thanks for sharing it.

Margay said...

Thank you so much for commenting! I'm sure you'll probably hear about the graduation itself the next time I post. I know this may not seem writer related, but every experience I have like this becomes a seed for another story. Life is the best form of research anyone can utilize.

Gracen Miller said...

Margay, if it makes you feel any better, I cried the whole way through this. lol Two of my nephews graduated last week from high school and although they aren't my children, I too was very emotional.

It seems as if both of them were born just yesterday, so to be sitting there watching them graduate was very emotional for me. I kept wondering where all the time went. And why does time seem to go so much faster now that we're older than when we were younger? *laughs*

It had me looking at my own son, who graduated from elementary school and into middle school this year. I know in the blink of the next eye, it'll be him graduating high school.

*gives you a virtual hug* Congratulations to your daughter and to you as well, Margay.

Margay said...

Thank you so much, Gracen!