Entering the auditorium for freshman orientation, the screen at the front of the room reads, “Welcome Class of 2014!” The year is a little piece of trivia that I had stuffed away in the back of my mind years ago when I finally decided what year she was going to start Kindergarten and haven’t thought a lot of it since. My first born has an autumn birthday so it was up for debate, but in the end I decided to keep her home for a bonus year and it has proven to be an excellent decision. Making that decision seems like a lifetime ago and yesterday all at the same time. How is that possible? I feel the knot of emotion tighten in my throat and steady myself. I don’t want to be ‘that mom’ and it would be so easy to ‘get all emotional’ right now.
As we find our seats in the auditorium of the high school, I have that surreal feeling like I am living someone else’s life, because this one, I am certain, could not be mine, given my daughter is still, after all, just a little girl. Isn’t she? Yeah, I know… not really.
Truthfully, over the years I have not given a lot of thought about the day she will graduate from high school. She has always been fairly ‘easy’. Nothing has ever really thrown me for a loop with her. It’s just been an assumption that some day these high school days too would come. Now, as I listen to the guidance counselor begin his ‘This is how much high school has changed since you were in it you old parents’ spiel, those thoughts of the next four years, those mysterious school years that, like ‘Kindergarten’, are given special names and not just a number, have my heart beating just a little bit faster! Not because I don’t think she is prepared or capable, on the contrary, I’m proud to say she is a far better student than I was in every way! No, it is because this man giving his shtick keeps talking about how fast it will go.
I find myself thinking back to when I graduated from high school. One of my favorite photos of that night is of my father and me. We are standing together in the stadium, he in his navy blue sport coat and tie, a proud smile and misty eyes, and me, wearing my emerald green graduation robe and mortar board hat, my entire face beaming and in my hands a bag of confetti. The moment seems like yesterday and then I am pulled back to reality. The guidance counselor scrolls through his Power Point presentation and the photo in my mind transforms. This time the picture is still of me, but now I’m the one grinning with pride and misty eyed, and the beaming graduate is now my lovely girl… and thanks to the image on the screen a new piece to the unknown puzzle comes in to view. She’ll wear blue.