Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Day

My daughter graduates from high school today. It will be my first experience with a Merriweather graduation ceremony. When I graduated from high school we sat on bleachers next to the school’s running track. The sound from the PA system bounced off of the school’s brick walls and produced an echo reminiscent of the announcer at a monster truck rally. 
We didn’t think much of the ceremony. It didn’t feel like it was for us. The speaker was the newly hired local chief of police. His speech was far from inspiring. We sat and waited for it to be over. I don’t think most of us realized what profound changes we were about to face as we left our years of k-12 schooling.
Naturally I have plenty of things I’d like to say concerning my daughter’s graduation. But her story is not my story to tell. I can’t convince myself that mining her life for a poignant blog post is an honorable thing to do, and so I won’t.
Instead I can only speak for myself. What does this day mean to me? It means I will never again ask her, “What’s for homework?” or pat her sleeping form through the covers to wake her up. It means no more lunch making, rehearsal pick ups,  permission slips, choir trips, no more parent conferences.
I will always be her mother, and I hope she will think that is a good thing. I will no longer be the arbiter of all major decisions in her life. 
Of course this doesn’t all happen magically with a walk across the Merriweather stage. It has been happening, ever so slowly, incrementally, for many years. Today is simply the day we set aside to celebrate it.
In some ways I think my peers and I had a sense of knowing it all on that day we graduated out on the school track. Receiving a diploma was the beginning of a lifetime of realizing how much we didn’t know. Maybe that’s the most important gift education can give you.
One more thing. I still have dreams I didn’t pass PE or that some unknown library books will keep me from graduating. I wonder if that ever goes away.

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