"For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out."~James Baldwin
The saddest part of today was when I was sitting way up in the civic center stadium while the class of 2009 marched in and I couldn't find my daughter among the sea of 1000 green caps and gowns.
I stood there looking for someone I knew so I could approximate in the alphabet where she would be and I couldn't pick out even one face that I recognized from so far up. I panicked then, just for a little bit, because I thought--who sends their kid to a high school with a graduating class of 1000? And I could feel tears pooling in my eyes with the ridiculousness of it all--but then I found her--decked out with her honors collar and ropes (cords) and medals and pins and my heart filled with joy. She never found me in the crowd, but I found her. She has done everything right and I hope our country doesn't get too screwed up before she gets to really shine because that would be a damn shame. She brings light, she is like the sun.
On the way over to the graduation ceremony, stuck in traffic, my husband sighed and asked me if our daughter just couldn't have skipped the ceremony and picked up her diploma at the school sometime next week. I've gotten good at taking this sort of remark and not exploding on the spot anymore. What I do is I tell him I can't entertain his nonsense at the moment and to please act normal. Then I'll file the comment away in my head somewhere and take it out (like now) and think--whatever will I do with myself if I have to deal with this craziness for the rest of my life.
You might think that your youngest daughter graduating from high school with so many honors she barely has room around her neck for more would be an experience you'd want to dive into and enjoy forever. But no--it's an inconvenience for him--finding a parking spot and whatnot. I had to remind him that today was not about him and I truly think that I should NOT have to do that sort of thing at this point in my life, but for life to run smoothly, I suck up the things that make me want to scream. I think I am getting better at accepting that life will not always be the way I want it to be.
Then it's time to choose a place to eat and of course there's a battle between the graduate and my husband and he doesn't seem to get that it's HER day and that he should take her where she wants to go. Nope. An argument ensues and I sit there feeling myself shrinking and wishing I could disappear because no one will "just go along" except for me. What's so hard about doing something you don't want to do once in awhile? My father used to tell me it builds character.
Anyway, I thought I'd be very emotional today but between my husband's juvenile behavior and my son's griping about not "having a plan about where to sit," and the kid who sat next to me who hogged the armrest while my husband hogged the one on the other side leaving me scrunched up and claustrophobic, and my camera malfunctioning, and the 12 or 13 people who needed to get up and as a result I had to get up to let them go by so that I was pretty much a like a jack-in-the-box for most of the ceremony, and then the restaurant wars afterwards--well, I was too aggravated to feel sentimental and weepy. Mostly I just wanted to hit someone.
I'm really proud of my daughter and all she has accomplished. I'm happy to think I played a small part in all that greatness.
The New Civil War
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