It was a night of soggy red gowns and deflated ‘doos, but even the rain that fell through much of the 1 hour and six minute graduation ceremony could not dampen the spirits of the 323 students that received their diplomas Friday night at Foothill High School.
It was my second high school graduation as a parent, but no matter, one never grows immune to the feelings of sadness that come as we watch our children grow up. I teared up silently, glad for the big umbrella that I could hide beneath. But the tears are not all for sorrow, for yesterdays gone; they are also for the pride and joy at the young adult that my son has become. He has fought battles and emerged a stronger man for them. He is ready to fly.
Graduation is a double-edged sword, I think. Our high school senior was so excited about it, looked forward to it all year. We planned a celebration, bought gifts and cards, took pics to remember every moment, and hugged and laughed with our graduate and his friends after the ceremony. It seemed to be all about excitement and joy and new things to come. And it was. But there is another side that only parents feel. Those moments of emotion that came as I ironed his gown yesterday, cleaned up the kitchen after his pre-graduation dinner, and watched him march into the stadium with his classmates. Those tears that fall down my face even now as I write. The little boy that came into our lives 18 year ago is all grown up. And even as we celebrate his growing up, we mourn it as well. We want it–we don’t.
I know what to do with the happy edge of the sword. I continue to cherish the growth and challenge and keep cheering my son on as he goes to college to play football and discover his independence. But the sad edge leaves me feeling helpless, unable to stop the swiftly passing years–not that I really want to–and sometimes wishing that for just one minute I could hold that chubby little towhead in my arms again.