This has been a very busy, long, tiring, and wonderful week.
Full of stressful and sweet moments.
I watched my beautiful Middlest walk out of the house a high school girl, looking classy and gorgeous in a tasteful dress that made her look like a real grown up. Which was weird. I was amazed at the stuff some of the girls showed up in to graduate. I saw dresses that looked like they belonged on stage in a hootchie review and 6 inch heels that they could barely walk in. My child looked like a dark haired Grace Kelly in a dress she chose herself. (Am I bragging? Damn Straight.) And walk back in with a diploma in her hand.
I saw her walk in a cap and gown that hid every bit of her. Except her face which glowed with a smile that couldn't be missed and moments after taking her seat she had found us in a giant arena. A skill learned from years in an orchestra. She beamed up at us keeping her eyes on her family. Except when her walking partner, who is a childhood friend--turned boyfriend--turned back to friend--was teasing her. Her comment was -"I started school with X poking me with his elbow and I ended school with X poking me with his elbow. Very Appropriate."
I sat with my husband of 25 years and watched her graduate from the same high school we attended. I sat with Littlest who will be there herself in 2013 but was more concerned with the toddler sitting in front of her and spent most of the pre-ceremony smiling and watching her. I sat with my son-in-law DecentGuy, who messed up when he was a student at this school and has been encouraging and fussing and Actually Bribing Middlest to do it right. He's been with Biggest too long, figures it works with that one, why not?...In any case, she has a bass guitar coming her way now. I sat with Biggest who also threw it away when she was there and who cried when Middlest told her she made it, because she was so proud. I sat with this daughter who will be 24 next week. Who stood next to me during the pledge but whispered 'sell out' in my ear and then redeemed herself by laying her head on my shoulder as we sat and watched. It always surprises me when they do that. I freeze in those moments to hold tight to every second of them. We've had several this week. Meeting Middlest on the half way point of out stairs and her reaching out, "I need a hug really bad." Littlest leaning into me as we sat on the porch, at home afterward, celebrating.
I watched the pre-ceremony show. Two families in the row in front of us almost get in a fist fight over the row. Between the family with 3 people who showed up early to save an entire row for the rest and the second family who decided to sit there. The first saying, "These were saved, we have more coming." The second saying, "No they ain't, there's no one sitting in them, they ain't saved." So the first family eventually settled on death glares and loud comments when their other family members showed up. What is wrong with people? The Groundeds' are split on who was right. One side says you can't expect to just show up early and keep that many seats. The other says, That was rude. Get there early yourself instead of stealing seats someone else showed up early for.
I saw the during the ceremony show. Which was people who were solemnly asked to observe decorum. No yelling, cheering, or horns please. After all, a family may miss their graduates name being called. Yeah right. This is a school that prided itself for years on being the only one that allowed flip flops as part of the dress code. The Teachers working Security did remember to look mean as they whispered "not yet, wait till the end" to the kids with the beach balls they were surreptitiously blowing up under their gowns during the final speech. Oh and for some reason the announcers kept pausing in between names ; )
This event marks another milestone in this journey I know will end before long. There will be change. But for now I hold on to this in the same way I hold on to those impromptu hugs and gentle leanings into my shoulders.
Last night I had my favorite. My family all together and enjoying our own company. The noise and ruckus they create as a group always makes me happy. My three daughters talking and laughing together. They are all big but I still hear the sound of running, laughter and shouts as they tussle. Middlest threatening Biggest to stay out of the corners on her cake, they were hers. But letting DecentGuy have one because he gave her a bass. Biggest and Littlest having a showdown between kick boxing and Jujitsu to see who was toughest. Middlest finally wondering, "How come I never learned to fight?" It's a good question. She answered it herself. "That's ok, I can just disregard situations until they go away". True. I think the fact that this situation not only did not go away but reached completion has floored her. She looked dazed as they handed her the diploma and she looked lost for a moment meandering off the stage. I felt a little lost myself. How did I get here? Where will we go next?
I guess it doesn't matter where or how. We will go together. Even if someday we are not physically in the same spot. I know. Wherever they are they I will feel them lean in and rest against my heart.
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