Graduation For Parents
Pomp and Circumstance echoes throughout the stadium. Students pile onto the field in their caps and gowns. Getting ready to graduate. Getting ready to get out there. Some seem eager. Some seem bored. Some seem emotional.
Lisa and Dave are in the stands, searching for Katie. They do not hold back tears.
I can’t believe Katie is graduating college today. Don’t you remember when she just started kindergarten?
Honey, why are you crying?
Because I’m scared.
Why are you scared?
Because this school is so big.
I’m going to hold your hand while we walk in together. Is that okay?
The speakers make their addresses. The air is steeped in poignancy, and not just due to the moisture. One by one, names are called. Students walk up to the podium to receive their diploma.
They’re 21, 22 years-old.
Where does the time even go?
Quick flashbacks ignite. Home with a newborn and crying and stress and exhaustion and love. Absolute, unconditional love. First words and steps and songs. Discovering passions and pursuits. Birthday cakes and sewing costumes for trick or treating and trips to Lancaster County and Paul’s house in Massachusetts. Fights with friends. Fights with each other. That first, painfully gut-wrenching broken heart. Knowing they have to figure it out on their own, but being there anyway. Always being there anyway. Growing up.
Of course I remember. I remember that shortly after she started school, we signed her up for dance lessons. And then she danced on that boat in front of everybody. Everyone came up to us saying how endearing she was. She always liked the attention. But she also genuinely liked people.
Katie’s name is called. Bachelor Of Arts. She did it. She really did it. She spots her parents in the crowd. She beams at them, gives a slight wave.
Lisa and Dave hug each other, tightly. Proud parents who remember the path they took to get to where they are standing.
Lauren Suval studied print journalism and psychology at Hofstra University, and she is a writer based in New York. Her work has been featured on Psych Central, Thought Catalog, Catapult Community, and other online publications. Lauren's e-book “Coping With Life’s Clutter” and her latest book, “The Art Of Nostalgia,” a collection of personal essays, can both be found on Amazon. She loves to be followed on Twitter @LaurenSuval and on Facebook @LaurenSuvalWriting.