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Graduation

The twins had their graduation from elementary school.  It has taken me a bit of time to process the moment.  Like many things, the anticipation was worse than the actual moment.  I cried, don’t get me wrong, but I also felt very numb and resigned.

It had to happen.

There were a few events leading up to the big moment.  Josh chaperoned his final elementary school field trip.  I chaperoned my final elementary school field trip.  There were rehearsals for the big day and a program to pull together and parties to throw.  Each time I would think, this is it.  That day I feared is happening.

I’m racing toward it, unable to stop.

The ceremony was lovely.  The kids sang.  They got awards.  They walked across the stage and stated their favourite school memory and wish for the future.  We watched a slide show full of pictures of their classmates from the last 6 years.  The kids sang along with the soundtrack, bouncing around in their seats while they shrieked out each other’s names.  I bawled seeing pictures from Kindergarten; their toothless smiles juxtaposed against the sea of braces across the aisle from us.

At the end of the ceremony, we walked through the school and the students from the younger classes lined the hallways and clapped us out.  The kids began down near the Kindergarten and special needs classrooms and then made their way past the first grade and second grade and on until they passed their own dark classrooms and made their way out of the school.

It was the moment I’ve been dreading the most; the one I didn’t think I would be able to get through.  I cried.  I bawled walking down the hall, all the kids staring at me as I passed and whispering, “That’s the computer lady” and they applauded.  I hugged their old teachers and said thank you.  I thought about all the things I had done in that school, the shapes cut out of construction paper and the xeroxing and the book club meetings.  And I said goodbye to the space, knowing that I would probably be back in that building again in the future, but it would no longer be our home.

I thought I wouldn’t be able to force myself to walk out the front door at the end, but there I was, putting one foot in front of the other.  We had to hurry to make a lunch reservation with friends, and, once again, the reality of the moment was nothing like the anticipation of the moment.  It was hard, it was bittersweet, but it also felt like what was going to happen.  So I could either struggle against it or let myself be carried on.

I let myself be carried on.

18 comments

1 Lavonne @ the OCD infertile { 06.21.16 at 8:10 am }

*all the feels* I got emotional just reading this…such a joyful yet bittersweet occasion. It reminds me of when my younger brother graduated high school. I gave my mom a pep talk all night about how she wasn’t allowed to cry, because she is an emotional sobbing mess when she cries and I didn’t want her to embarrass me or my brother…the song started and he started walking towards his seat (yep not even to go on stage) and I LOST IT! Total sobbing mess of tears watching my little bro graduate. LOL! My mom was laughing so hard at me she didn’t have time to cry, so I’m going to stick with the story that it was my plan all along.

2 Cristy { 06.21.16 at 8:33 am }

Crying from reading this. It reminds me of the move we just did and that last walk thru I did at our condo. My last day of teaching at my institutions. You know it’s happening so it’s a matter of how you will exit.

Thinking of you

3 Charlotte { 06.21.16 at 8:34 am }

Oh Mel. Such great big hugs for you. All of this, what you wrote…I KNOW. To quote a line from my most favorite Winne the Pooh : “You are braver than you think, and stronger than you believe.” Letting yourself be carried on just proves it.

4 Jen@FrugalSteppingStones { 06.21.16 at 8:41 am }

We are a few years away from our oldest finishing grade school, but I have the feeling when my youngest starts kindergarten in 3 years I will be acting in a similar manner. We sold and gave away all of the baby things in May, and it was rather hard.

5 torthuil { 06.21.16 at 8:42 am }

That’s a very intense parenting moment! Good to cry and keep one foot going in front of the other. The other thing that I thought was that’s a lot of ceremony for (still) little kids, and a rather arbitrary date too (people graduate elementary school at different years depending where they live, and some schools are grade 3 to 9 so they don’t graduate till grade 9). I didn’t grow up with much ceremony in my life, for a variety of reasons. Do you like having all the ceremony and a big deal made of the milestone or do you think it increases anxiety (for parents or kids)? Obviously the moments are going to happen regardless (I’ve been told my daughter is going to move up from the infant room at daycare and that’s got me catching my breath a bit). Anyway, congratulations to you and your kids! So much fun ahead!!

6 Noemi { 06.21.16 at 8:59 am }

{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}

7 Beth { 06.21.16 at 9:15 am }

I cried reading this. I barely made it through preschool graduation.

8 a { 06.21.16 at 9:16 am }

You are very sentimental. I have mixed feelings about the school that my daughter goes to. This will be her last year and I’m relieved. Maybe if I had spent more time…but, no, I think I’d be more aggravated.

9 Ana { 06.21.16 at 9:17 am }

Awww, Mel. Hugs to you. I also wonder, like torthuil above, about the current ramping up of graduations/ceremonies/etc..for each milestone. More and more occasions to feel the loss of time racing by. I was proud of myself for not crying at KG graduation yesterday.

10 Journeywoman { 06.21.16 at 9:57 am }

Hugs

11 April { 06.21.16 at 10:13 am }

I understand where you are coming from on this. Next year is high school graduation for us. Every time I start thinking about it, I start to tear up. I feel like yesterday was orientation for 9th grade. Now we are talking senior dance solos and senior pictures, college visits and cap and gown payments. It’s very surreal.

12 Lori Lavender Luz { 06.21.16 at 10:29 am }

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Abiding with you. I know how hard this has been for you. xoxo, my friend. I’m proud of you and your kids for all that was accomplished in this stage of their academic life.

13 KeAnne { 06.21.16 at 5:52 pm }

Oh wow. Big hugs. What a milestone and a powerful reminder that time marches on despite what we might wish. My son finishes first grade on Friday and I am in disbelief.

14 SuzannaCatherine { 06.21.16 at 6:26 pm }

Oh, wow! Where does the time go? I remember reading your posts when the twins started going to school. I truly empathized with you – not being able to leave the building. It was such a “me” reaction, I truly felt like I had walked in your shoes.
I have to admit that I shed some tears, too, reading about their (and your!) graduation to the next phase of life.
You and Josh have every reason to be proud. You’ve set a great example for your children and taught us all some lessons along the way.
Hope you have a great summer filled with memories for a lifetime.

15 Mali { 06.21.16 at 8:05 pm }

This is all foreign to me, and not only because of the obvious point that I don’t have children – although that might be the primary reason this is foreign to me. We don’t have “graduations” at the school level at all here, especially not from elementary (primary) school, so there is no ceremonial departure. It makes me wonder if my mother felt this way when my sisters and I left primary school. I don’t think so – I never got a sense of sadness at all, and I was pretty sensitive to sadness. We were all usually filled with enthusiasm for the future. So I loved your final sentence. “I could either struggle against it or let myself be carried on.” Feeling what you needed to feel, but not fighting against it, accepting the change, and eventually, looking to the future.

16 katherinea12 { 06.22.16 at 9:36 am }

Sending thoughts. It’s hard, watching those moments and letting go to be carried on.

I like the idea of the younger kids clapping the older ones out. We didn’t do kindergarten/elementary/middle school graduations anywhere I grew up, so no rituals like this, but this seems like a fitting way to acknowledge the bittersweet quality of moving on.

17 35jupiterdrive { 06.22.16 at 9:50 am }

There wasn’t a graduation from elementary for my son, but I’ve done both high school and college, and it is sad and proud and inevitable.

I think I’m going to put these lines of yours up on my bulletin board. Beautiful, and true, and helpful.

“So I could either struggle against it or let myself be carried on.

I let myself be carried on.”

18 Deathstar { 06.22.16 at 4:07 pm }

Jeez, thanks for making me cry. I gotta get back to work. *sniffles* PS. They’ll be fine and you’ll be fine and soon they’ll be graduating college and then we’ll be crying all over again!

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