A few years back, you guys all read my column as I walked through my oldest daughter’s senior year of high school. I was in a constant state of emotional sappiness. Every single thing she did that year made me cry. I am pretty sure that I spent the majority of the year dehydrated from all the tears I shed. Every milestone, every “last” thing she did, everything about her senior year made me sob. However, somehow, I made it through graduation day without needing intravenous fluids.
Here we are, four years later, with my son as the graduate. We are just over a month out from the big day and I find myself just as sappy as I was the first time around, but for a thousand different reasons. While I am definitely just as proud of my son as I was of my daughter, there are aspects of his graduation that will make me cheer a thousand times louder.
School has never been easy for my boy. Nor has it been enjoyable for him. So between those two things, it’s been an uphill climb, sometimes dangling by our fingertips and praying for help, to get to this point. We’ve spent lots of times having meetings, emailing teachers, talking to counselors and principals and then circling back around to the teachers again. But we’ve made it and I could not be more proud of my child for all the hard work he’s put in. It just goes to show that if you are determined enough, you can make just about anything happen.
A few weeks ago he brought home his cap and gown pictures and we were able to hang it in our hallway with all the other school pictures that have hung on that wall since 2001 when our oldest began Kindergarten at Cain Elementary. Seeing the pride in his face as he watched it go up on that wall in graduation regalia was fun. This week, they are passing out caps and gowns to the seniors at the High School and once again, I will cry I’m sure. There’s something so special about seeing your child wearing that mortarboard and gown and seeing their pride well up that you just can’t duplicate. But seeing a kid who has fought hard to earn that mortarboard and gown is invaluable.
They say that it takes a village to raise a child. Sometimes I think that’s true. I am grateful for our village of educators over the years. I’m thankful for the coaches who have guided him. I am thankful for the elementary teachers who taught him the basic and fundamentals he would need for life, the middle school teachers who encouraged new hobbies, ideas and began challenging him to join clubs and organizations. I’m thankful for the high school teachers who have pushed him and nurtured him at the same time, fighting battles alongside us and encouraging my kiddo the whole way. It’s been a long road, but we’re on the doorstep of full-blown adulthood and I am so appreciative for all the help.
I may continue to be a sappy mess for several more weeks now but I will get through this….just in time to start all over and do it one more time next year for my daughter! But then I’ll be a wreck for a whole new reason: she’s my baby, my last graduate. Oh my. Can someone bring me the tissues?