And I am uber-proud. I mean, yes, he managed to graduate from a fancy-pants high school with a respectable GPA, and that is great. But mostly I’m proud because he is just an awesome person. Everybody says so.
That is what I should write about.
But what I’m pretty sure I’m going to write about today is, of course, about what his graduation has meant for, you know, ME.
Surprised? Don’t be. It’s my blog.
Let me just put this on the table: Graduation ceremonies are boring. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about! They suck, for the most part. The only part that doesn’t suck is when they call your kid’s name and you get to yell and try to embarrass them + let them know you’re there for God’s sake. All the rest is just filling time. But we all sit there and smile and clap and act like we aren’t all horrified at how grown-up these kids look and how old all the other parents look.
Aging is weird in a Twilight Zone kind of way. I mean, I was checking out the crowd when we were supposed to be listening to some 18 year old’s inspiring speech about all he has overcome in his 18 years of life…. and I was thinking, “There sure are a lot of grandparents here today….” Then I noticed the really old people and realized that they were, in fact, the grandparents. The other old people were the other parents. Who, for the most part, are probably my age.
All I could think was, “Do I look as old as these other people?” and, as you can see from the picture above, the answer, apparently is “YES.”
Which is weird because the chick in that picture is not at all related to the one that I see in the mirror every morning. The chick in my mirror has barely aged. And her teeth aren’t that weird looking. And she doesn’t feel anywhere near as old as she looks.
I don’t want to turn this into an entire post about aging……I can write about that anytime. This post is about how those asshole 18 year old high school graduates, so full of vim and vigor (whatever that means….) with their whole lives ahead of them, have forced us (okay, me) to think about the passage of time.
And how it happens super fast. I really can’t emphasize this enough: TIME FLIES.
And how you can’t get it back.
And how I had no way of knowing about this little fact of life when I was 18. And how it still hadn’t hit me when my son was born and I was 27. And how, if I’m being honest, I’m really just now coming to grips with it at age 46.
And about the life I dreamed I would have when I was graduating from high school (“Wild and Free in ’83!”) and the one I’ve actually had.
And about how it turns out that this whole “son graduating from high school” thing pretty much means that I have run out of time to be the Mom I dreamed I would be, instead of the one that I turned out to be.
Thanks a bunch, Class of 2011.
The Mom I dreamed I would be was totally prepared to be a parent. She knew how to handle a baby who never slept and mostly cried. She used cloth diapers and made her own baby food. She lost her baby weight right away. Dream Mom didn’t have post-partum depression. She didn’t go back to work when her baby was 6 weeks old. She didn’t have to study for the bar exam and iron her clothes for work while trying to get him to sleep at night. She didn’t struggle with her new identities as “Mom” and “Lawyer” – which happened in the same year. She didn’t miss anyof her son’s milestones because she was at work. She never went to work with spit-up on her jacket and dark circles under her eyes. Dream Mom was always a “classroom Mom”, and a Cub Scout leader and a “Team Mom” and she volunteered at the school all the time. She most certainly didn’t get divorced. She was a great cook. She not only had a complete baby book, she had cool scrapbooks for every year of her son’s life. She lived in the same great house in the same great neighborhood the whole time her son was growing up, so he would never wonder where “home” was. She didn’t pack Lunchables. She eschewed Capri Sun. Dream Mom made sure their house was the place to be for all the kids in the neighborhood. She sent care packages during summer camp. She always knew all of her son’s friends and teachers and coaches. She was hip, but never, ever, inappropriate.
The Mom I turned out to be, on the other hand, knew all the words to 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop” and sang them, loudly, in the car while driving her son to school. Until she realized that he was a teenage boy, and that the song is all about sex and, therefore, it might not be the best idea to even allow him to hear the damn song, much less sing along with such enthusiasm. What else….oh, she used exactly two (2) cloth diapers. She had post-partum depression but didn’t realize it for way too long. She got overwhelmed. She worked a lot and missed out on some big milestones. She was a horrible cook! She threw awesome birthday parties but didn’t make scrapbooks or videos. She relied on Lunchables and McDonald’s more than she should have. She wasn’t always patient. She got divorced, more than once. She moved a lot. She didn’t send care packages to summer camp. She wasn’t always hip. She didn’t know all of her son’s teachers/coaches and she missed a few (very few!) soccer/lax games. Her house was not where all the kids hung out. She posted on his Facebook wall (gasp!) even after he forbade it. And, most recently, she offered to teach him how to “Dougie”….
Real Mom had some good qualities, but she wasn’t much like Dream Mom.
I don’t even really know where I’m going with this except to explore all of the emotional stuff that this graduation has stirred up for me. Is it weird that I’m feeling all this? Do other parents question their parenting? Wonder how all those years flew by? Wish they could do some of it over? Wonder who that old person in the pictures is? Feel happy and sad and excited and scared about what is next for their kids? Remember how it felt to be 18 and have your whole life ahead of you?
Did any of those other parents know all the words to “Candy Shop”?