Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Times, They Are A'Changing

This time of the year brings back so many stressful, albeit wonderful memories. All the young faces filled with a menagerie of expressions from unimaginable impatience, to immense joy, to, “Where do I go from here?” and, “Who will I be when this is over?”

They’ve been students at least 13 of 18 years of their lives. They’ve had somewhere to be from 8am until 2:25pm, every August through May. They’ve followed a dress code, student conduct codes, and parental rules for the last eighteen years. Yet they are all on the brink of freedom and you can see that in every fiber of their erratic movements and actions. Everything in this last week seems like a knee-jerk reaction to the coming change, the change that will vault them into adulthood and down strange pathways that most will say they are more than ready for, but few will admit that they are also a little scared.

Some will be headed to colleges of choice, some will take some time off, and some, straight to a place of employment. Some will continue to live at home while going to school, which will provide the comforts always known while experiencing the unknowns in new places with new faces. And some will move out, and perhaps even out of town, as adulthood and strangers surround them all at once, while they try their best to find their footing and appear brave.

But this week there are several required events and traditions that ramp-up the emotions of all, including the parents. As each event approaches in time, our anxiousness and trepidation runs on high, we feel everything from being proud to, “How did my baby become so grown so fast?” We will cry, we will laugh, and we will feel relief. We will be worried, we will feel alone, and we will feel left out. Because that’s the job of a parent: to get them all to their destination the best we can and let go.

The first event is Baccalaureate, which is somber and still. It’s our first opportunity to see them in their caps and gowns preparing us for what’s to come. Next is Senior Night. All the students will be dressed in tuxes and gowns for their walk down memory lane, a 13 years of life slideshow where so many of us will cry and so many of us will laugh with some much needed comedy relief.

Finally, what everyone worked so hard for, parents and students alike: the night of graduation. There will be speeches, smiles, and tears once more. The parents / families/ friends will be watching with rapt attention, not even noticing as we nervously twist our programs between our fingers into swizzle stick forms. 

And then it’s done, everyone is beaming from ear to ear, passing out hugs and congratulations, the remaining anticipation on the back burner for the night. This whole week can be best described / quoted by Scarlett O’Hara saying:  “I can’t think about that right now. If I do I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about it tomorrow.”  

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