Thursday, May 29, 2014

I Don't Understand This Weepiness Over High School Graduation

This whole week on the internet, there have been posts, Facebook updates, pinterested pinterests on the woeful parent saying good-bye and good luck to their child moving on from his days at home. Life beyond the four walls you've given them, and their turn to leave our two arms that have held them for so long. There are new beginnings on the wide horizon! And always, these posts end in "hold me" "tears" and "where did my baby go??" Sometimes, they use an interrobang.

I don't get it.

So your child is ready to spread his wings, this is a good thing, right? I mean, this is evidence that we've been successful, no failure to launch at this house! All of us had that as our goal.

The first time our son mowed the lawn at this house, he looked like this:

And now he looks like this:

When we moved into our house, our dark-haired boy looked like this:

And this past Christmas, in front of the very same fireplace, we had someone who looked like this:

 He stands above me now

when I once could hold him, the entire whole of him, with one arm.

The boy who has always talked of airplanes, flying, of someday being a pilot so much that every year at every fair, the first ride he would run to would be this one:

is now getting his dream with an Air Force ROTC scholarship.

Sappiness, nostalgia, poignancy, bittersweet, the march of time. What are people getting verklempt about? You mean going from this?

To this?

Is that it?

There's a trick to it all, you know. Pretend the days last forever. Go about your way and when his almost 6 foot frame reminds you of the months ticking down until he starts the life you hoped and dreamed for him, find that smile -- practice it in front of a mirror so that you look borderline lunatic. Do it, keep on doing it, until you convince everyone around you.

It's all good. Because it is all good.

If, as I've heard, tears and a lump in your throat that you can't swallow away show up on graduation day, remember it's just part of the beautiful messiness of life, of moments too big to contain, of a world that's been so good to us, why wouldn't there be tears from the joy and excitement?

Looking at these pictures doesn't bother me. Really. They're photos of my life, our life, together. Packed with love that is more than four letters powerful. Of time spent with my son that feels like he's been with me since my own life began. This boy lives in my body, my bones, my heart.

These pictures show you something, but not everything. How does an image capture love, pride, inspiration and gratitude that I have for the days shared with him? *insert interrobang* There's no painful heartbreak, just surreal disbelief of such a good life.

And I'm going to be fine.

That's another trick I've learned to maneuver through these days looming with high school graduation now too real to ignore, my 24-hour mantra, I'm going to be fine.

I love you, my boy. I am so proud when I hear people say as I walk past, "That's Alec's mom."

I think these came to the wrong house.

* * *


  1. Oh love - so I wasn't suppose to cry reading this? Damn. xo

  2. It is such a good thing. A happy thing. Lined with a little bit of sadness. like most good and happy things are.

  3. I just love your attitude overall. I love your words and your philosophy and the way you love your family. All of it. xo

  4. i hear positive self talk helps....smiles.

    he will do wonderful no small part because of the way he was raised...and as hard as it is for them to start their own life...they need you all the more...

  5. I will be a wreck when my girls are at that stage, but I have a while...Congratulations to your son and you.

  6. I just love how you sweet-shocked our heart with those precious photos and then asked us, "Is that it?" Yep, that's it alright. Congratulations, Momma, you done good. ;)

  7. **This boy lives in my body, my bones, my heart.**

    Gorgeous Post.

  8. I've never even met him and I just want to hug him 'til he breaks!

    Did you read JC's latest book, Motherhood? It captures that feeling of them living in your body, your bones, your heart. And it sort of makes you bawl your eyes out. But ya know...

  9. I'm one of the weepers. And the one graduating next week is my second! You'd think it would get easier, but I'll tell ya...this one is harder. It is such a good and happy weep, though. So proud of my kids, so proud of myself for raising them, so happy and excited to see them bloom.

    This is another lovely one, Alexandra.

  10. Thanks for sharing in the pride and joy. It's a constant effort, to just not throw myself on the sofa and give in to a good cry. I'll hold it in until the day we drive him to school... until then, he just sees beaming pride in my face. Deal? Deal. xo You are each, so lovely.

  11. So now *I* am crying.
    Congratulations to your boy!

  12. I got kind of weepy looking at these photos, and I'm not even a mother.
    I am, however, ridiculously sentimental.

  13. I agree completely. The last 18 years have been a daily exercise in eventually letting them go out on their own. From the first bike ride around the block, to the drivers license, it has been small steps. And I won't cry like a baby on graduation day because he's no longer my baby. But I will cry a river because I'm proud of him.

    Congratulations! I'd say let's share a box of tissues next month, but one box will be scarcely enough for me.

  14. I am oh so far away from this day in my life but even though you tricked me and I am currently a weepy mess after reading this...your words inspire and remind me to embrace all the moments, the time and the adventure. And even though you tricked me and I'm still blubbery I agree that that is our goal and it is what we strive for for our children, the pride must be wonderful and amazing and ohhhhh Alex!!! Congratulations!!! What beautiful words for seasoned, new and newer moms. The message is one we can all embrace. Now hand me a tissue!!

  15. Help me with this minor issue dear empress...I fear my son has inherited much of my "that stuff makes us cry" there a guide for him? Do we make a pact? Do we both practice for the next year subjecting ourselves to sappy movie scenes until we've become desensitized? Is Baby E running a workshop?

    Congratulations to your beautiful boy! And to his momma! Much love!

  16. I just loved this. I feel this way too..that any tears or lumps in my throat are grateful happy ones. Yes, YES time is flying by but in my heart and in my mind, Time is FLYING by and that's because we're here!

    My sons (who I prayed for, wanted with all my heart ) are here and growing. They are healthy, happy, smart (most days) and for every milestone they hit and move past , I move with them. It is not always like that..I was reminded of that in December..that nothing is certain, nothing is guaranteed and so I move toward these things.
    Yes, please let's graduate from Kindergarten! Sing the songs you learned, prove to me that this year was productive and magical and let's look forward to first grade. Let me worry and fuss about how to afford your uniforms and why I have to sign up for fall soccer in May? Because it means you will play fall soccer and wear a uniform (Jacob cannot wait to put that tie on!)

    I did cry a little reading this because your Alec is just what every mom wants her son (or daughter) to be. Happy, Healthy,, kind and open hearted. So yes, I teared up for you as he passes this milestone that you prepared him for in the way that you cry happy tears for a friend, but like you I'm not crying for the passage of time. I am grateful for it.

    Love you! Many congratulations to Alec (and YOU!)

  17. OK, now you've done it. You've made Betty cry. Are you happy? Are you? Well, so am I, actually. We are so incredibly lucky aren't we?

  18. You've done a good & proper job raising him, Empress.

  19. Thank you, everyone. It is a very strange time indeed. We just don't see it on our horizons until.. well, they're on that horizon.

  20. I've got a ways to go, but I think I'll start working on this now because I was getting teary eyed just looking at YOUR son grow up.

  21. Sometimes I wonder if my parents ever felt this way about a single one of their 6 kids. My mom was always so tired from being all things to all people and my dad was always working.

  22. I LOVE this post!!!! I love the way you showed photos from the past and present. I am feeling your feelings vicariously through you. It must be so much, and it must be the best feeling in all the world.



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