Well, here it is…the column I’ve dreaded writing, the one that’s been looming way in the distance for many years.
The baby of our family graduates from high school this month.
Just the other night we were in the kitchen and I was complaining about grown kids not helping out around the house.
“I have been taking care of people every single day for 21 years and 3 weeks, and I am ready for a break!”
“Mom,” Sky teased, “Hold on just a little bit longer—you still have me until August!”
I looked at her and saw a little Indian, wearing a crayon-decorated brown bag costume and a single-feather headband. It was the year in elementary school that parents had Thanksgiving lunch with their kids. It was the third time—in four years—that I was sitting with the other parents.
There she was, proudly walking with that feather bouncing on the back of her head! Out of nowhere the tears started flowing. I tried to pull it together but each time I looked at the pint-sized Pilgrims and Indians I wanted to bawl.
A couple of years later I was sitting in the audience at Stevens Creek Elementary for the Vocabulary Parade. Sky’s word was SPACE. We’d made an elaborate headpiece with Styrofoam planets orbiting her head.
The moment she walked on stage, a huge lump come up in my throat. Oh no! She walked over to the microphone and said her word, “SPACE” and that was it—hot tears immediately started racing down my face. I couldn’t hold my camera up to get a picture.
Something about my last child marching in the Vocabulary Parade made me realize that my days with little kids were dwindling. It made me appreciate her innocence because I knew, in a few years, SPACE girl would be mortified to think she walked around school with the Solar System on her head.
So here we are, for the third time in four years, about to watch our child walk across the stage and graduate from high school. I am excited for all the new beginnings she’ll have when she goes to college. I am excited for her to make her mark in the world.
But I think I’ll wear waterproof mascara, just in case, because as that new chapter in her life opens…another in mine will close.