Every year around this time the Seniors in our local high schools are preparing for “their lasts”. This weekend was Senior Prom, yesterday was Senior Ditch Day, and I saw on facebook my niece took her Senior Photos on Sunday. It’s all just a whirlwind of emotions for everyone when you live in a smaller town because if it’s not your kid graduating or being promoted from primary school to middle school or middle school to high school, it’s a relative or close friends kid that you have known since they were just a thought in their parents mind. This year my only niece is graduating and in just a few months after graduation night she will move to the bay area to attend college on a Softball scholarship she has worked most of her life to achieve.
The nostalgia I feel when this time of year comes around each late April early May is very overwhelming for me, as if it isn’t hard enough to maintain with mental illness you put all of these feelings from graduations past into the brain and it’s a lot. My high school experiences were nothing like the ones my niece has had and I am SO glad for her because it’s just completely unnecessary for someone to have made the choices I did with the upbringing I had. I was pregnant my entire senior year and the thought of the special senior events that I missed because of it still burn like lemon juice on a hang nail. I had my daughter on my 18th birthday which also happened to fall on the same day as Baccalaureate and graduation practice, which made for a very interesting conversation come graduation three days later when my administrator told me I wasn’t going to be able to walk with my classmates because I missed baccalaureate,
Ummmm excuse me Mr Leonard but I was in the hospital having a baby sooooo, yeah. Sorry I missed your prayer.
I wish I had gotten a photo of the look on his face man, it was priceless. Needless to say they let me walk which isn’t the easiest thing to do after having a baby and don’t even get me started on sitting there for hours as they read all 400 or more names and my last name began with “Y”. Good Lord it was awful.
5 years ago my daughters graduation would be the one I would reflect back to my horrible 1991 experience and being in a completely different place in my life it really brought everything I had gone through full circle. I had been able to guide her with the help of my family through all of her life to this point having made NONE of the same choices I did, talk about a proud day for me!!! I sobbed many times that day, which I guess is normal for moms to do when their kid officially enters adulthood and out of the confines of the school system. And not to dismiss the pride any other mom experiences at their kids graduation, mine was REALLY awesome because not only did my daughter not repeat any of my unfortunate choices but she did so having gone through a lifetime of speech classes and special education classes, having had a pulmonary valve replacement surgery and then scoliosis surgery to follow. She endured through all of her medical issues and then all of the typical teenage nonsense and still completed the task at hand, I bawled.
I have no doubt in a month from today when at my niece graduation I will be at the same amphitheater messing with my iPhone while all the boring graduate speeches are being read from all 40 valedictorian. I’ll be tripping out at the families who unapologeticlly will have ginormous balloon bouquets that will block the view of the stage for everyone behind them. I will probably be complaining as I am wiping the sweat off my face, dreaming of the hour the sun setting in the west directly beaming in our faces will clear the top of the amphitheater so we can stop squinting. All the while I will definitely be soaking up the nostalgia from graduations past and feel my heart break when my niece struts across that stage knowing that her little brother will be up there in 2 more years and even worse, my baby boy 4 years after him.
Stop it… I cant!