On Sunday our oldest child graduated from high school. As I look at her, my mind immediately goes into slideshow mode replaying her life from birth. It's difficult. I thought about her first day of school. I took her and dropped her off and having to stay for a parent meeting, I remember thinking how incredible chaotic everything was. I was shell shocked a bit. I kept thinking "this place is nuts and I'm leaving her here with a school full of strangers and I"m supposed to feel comfortable about it?" And there was Bethany, unfazed, excited, dutifully headed off to her class room without even a look back. I kept telling myself I should be happy that she was handling things so well. I couldn't wait to pick her up from school that day. How empty the house seemed without her there even though there were still two toddlers bustling about and me expecting the fourth child. I imagine dropping her off at college will leave me with much the same emotions. I'm already experiencing them now. Only at the end of the day I won't be loading up my little kids and going to get her. I'll be arriving home late and wondering if I should call her or text her or how many times should I call her. I'm sure she will be holding her own, getting to know new people and handling it all much better than this old gal.
(barely holding it together now)
Graduation day brought much pride as I watched my daughter in her white gown, gold sash, and purple medallion walk across the stage. It also brought a wave of stress as Lillian was terrified of the band merrily playing the graduation march. As soon as we arrived in the building and she heard the band she freaked out, crying, screaming, running in any direction to escape the noise assaulting her senses. She was trembling from head to toe and did so for over a half an hour. As luck would have it, we had to sit on the same level as the band.
After the ceremony we flooded out the school grounds searching for our newly graduated child...upon finding her we found a tree and photo ops ensued. As you see, Lillian didn't miss a one. I had to shut the door on the thoughts in my mind as I wondered how Lillian will adjust to life with no Bethany to be here. Her best friend sister. No more slumber parties in the basement with the one who brings her polar pops, reese cups, and pretty much everything the little girl asks her for. How will I be able to make her understand Bethany will not be home at night or greet her in the mornings? Change. It's difficult in more ways than one especially in her world.
Of course, graduation also makes me think about each of the kids growing up and how quickly it goes. Bittersweet really is the perfect description. I think of how happy and sad I can be all in the same moment. Then as my thoughts drift to them moving forward I can't help but think of my little Lillian, who as time passes her by, she seems a little further behind in her own little world. There is a new wave a grief. I think, how can I be sad that my oldest is graduated...moving on...yet be just as sad that my second youngest will likely not? Crazy right?
So, if you see my tears, know they are happy ones... they are bittersweet ones...and they go a bit deeper than just letting one go