Milestones & Waterworks

grad 3

Brothers walking to graduation – their last school event together

I always knew the day would come when my sons would step out into the world on their own. Everything I’ve done in life, I’ve done with their best interests at heart. These last few weeks, as my older son prepared for his high school graduation, I have frequently found myself a hopeless puddle of tears. In the space of six weeks, I watched him get his learner’s permit, buy and register a car, replace both taillight assemblies on said car, present a starter motor project with his team at the career showcase night at his school, win an award for most outstanding student in his career path, win a scholarship from a local repair shop to help him pursue his education as a mechanic, and finally graduate from high school. My role has been to step off to the side and cheer. And cry. A lot.

At first, I couldn’t understand why it hit me so hard. I mean we’ve been working toward this since he was just a little guy waving to me out the window of the preschool. It hasn’t been all sunshine and roses. There were struggles behind closed doors that no one else got to see. But I saw and I know how hard he worked. Every time I look at him at lately, I realize how proud I am of this incredible young man.

And then it hit me that in some ways, I guess I’m proud of me too. That’s not an easy thing for me to admit. I second-guess myself all the time and I have to be reminded to cut myself a break. I’ve made some damn hard choices, especially the last ten years, and I rarely stop to take in what I’ve done. I’ve been slogging along, just trying to keep going and now suddenly, here I was sitting in the bleachers on warm early summer night with tears streaming down my face as both of my boys processed on to the field, one as an usher and the other to graduate. Long about the time I would get myself under control, something else would set me off. The choir singing Bridge Over Troubled Water brought on full-fledged sobs. My father loved that song and used to sing it to my mother when he was the hospital dying of cancer. I was so wishing he was there with me to watch his grandson graduate, knowing how proud he would be. That graduation fell just days before Father’s Day was only adding to the waterworks.

My younger son has his own ideas about what his next three years of high school will entail. And my own college graduation is sneaking up on me. We’re all moving into a new chapter in life. Maybe this emotional mess I find myself in lately is all a part of that process. But I wish I could find the water shut-off. Or afford stock in Kleenex.

grad 1

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