"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Monday, May 16, 2011


Damn. He caught me.

Like any Traumatized But Proud Mother Of An Only Child Leaving The Nest a mere few days before high school graduation, there I sat at the computer, sobbing.

I had just finished watching -- for the third consecutive time, against my better judgement and the advice of friends and family -- the YouTube video of Suzy Bogus singing her tear-invoking graduation classic, "Letting Go."

Worse than Pomp and Circumstance.

"She's had 18 years
To get ready for this day
She should be past the tears
But she cries some anyway..."

Suddenly, the front door flies open!

It's Daniel!  At 9:25 a.m.?  He must have forgotten something...

Daniel's had so much on his heart, I don't want him to find me blubbering on the last Monday of his high school career. Must be strong. Positive. Cheery.

Slowly I turn my computer chair around, attempting a smile.

But wait!  What's that he's carrying???  It's white, it's...it's...His cap and gown?!?!


By the startled look on my face, one might have though he was grasping a white snake.

"Oh-ohhh, you..you've've got your cap and gown...they're white..." I stammer, stating the obvious.

"Yeah, we're all wearing white," Daniel says calmly, carefully hanging the plastic bag containing his commencement clothes on his Perfect Pull Up bar bolted to his bedroom door frame.

Our eyes meet.

Cue my streaming tears. No hiding the astonished "You really are graduating from high school Sunday, aren't you?" look at this point.

Argh. I don't want to cry in front of him. But I just can't help it.

"Gotta go!" says Daniel as he turns and bolts out the door, back to school. Probably muttering, "Sure hope Dad has the Valium stun gun fully loaded and ready..."

Actually, what he really did say after last year's graduation was, "Dad, we're gonna have to sedate Mom for graduation next year. Can Aunt Mary come early?"

Well, "next year" is here. And thankfully, Aunt Mary -- my big sister and best friend --  will be at our door bright and early Thursday morning, to help cook for the graduation party...and keep me focused.

"I can only say that it will get better. Really."

 This pearl of graduation wisdom from Amy, my dear friend and former co-news hound, also the mother of an only child.

 "We love our children so painfully much, and they MUST go do these wonderful things they are going to do," Amy adds, "and we adjust, because it isn't about us..."

Heavy sigh. Acceptance. Tears of joy. Tears of sadness. 

Gotta loosen my grip.  Give him room to fly.

It's never easy.

Letting go.


Anonymous said...

Cherish memories

Michael Ring said...

Hey, Anita: I know EXACTLY what you're going through. If it's any consolation, there IS life after graduation -- just different. Our senior year went by so quickly it was freaky. Lots and lots of emotion but so many positive things to reflect up and wonder about the future. You and John have done a wonderful job raising Daniel and this is the way it's supposed to be for parents (at least that's what I kept telling myself!). I might suggest that you reach out to someone slighly less invested in the moment than yourself and ask them to take photos during the ceremony and party. It's a win-win: It will free you up to enjoy the moment and you'll also end up with a photo album full of memories, including candids of Mom and Dad enjoying themselves during the festivities. That's all I got, by way of advice. Many, many happy memories to you all! Mike

Anonymous said...

This was really touching.

I'm not sure if it's because I'm at a similar impasse, or if it's a hormonal thing, but you got me bawling as bad as I did with the old long distance phone commercials from the 80's.

Jeesh, time for some peppermint tea to shake it off...

Renae Rude said...

When you wrote: Probably muttering, "Sure hope Dad has the Valium stun gun fully loaded and ready..."
I laughed out loud -- even though my eyes were thoroughly misted.

I've still got a couple more years with my 15 year old boy, but I can relate.