This weekend I watched from the back of our Centennial Hall as one of my dear friends graduated. The procession played and suddenly I felt myself getting a little emotional. It shocked me a little bit and I tried to brush it off as a mere spike in my menstrual cycle. But it wasn't. I always cry at things like this. Graduates with their square hats marching formally down the line. Brides greeting their grooms. Babies being placed on the chests of their mothers. No matter how often I think I've hardened myself to life and its cycles, think I've seen it all by now, I know it's all merely defense. Inside my heart is perpetually breaking and being filled back up. Stitched and kissed and overflowing. Waves and hurricanes.
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!
I watched a class of students embark on something new. And I cried for the parent in myself and for my own parents that never got to see their daughter turn that tassel (well, a tassle that wasn't spirit glued to her breasts). I watched those caps and gowns and wondered where I would have fit in. If I would have made it had I truly believed in myself. Had I pushed hard enough or not gambled on a pipe dream. Spinned the bottle and kissed the unknown.
You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don't.
Because, sometimes, you won't.
I cried because of all that potential. All of those people's dreams realized. For now.
"There will be more, and they don't even know it" I thought to myself in the safe dark of the back row.
And there will be. So much.
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?
Whether you've clutched your diploma or a pregnancy test, the feelings are collectively the same. Fear, excitement, newness testing out your balance. Whether you roll the dice or play fair, take your time, we're all trying to get somewhere.
But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.
On and on you will hike,
And I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.
And so, I cried for the unknown. The hope and the places you don't know you'll go. The unmarked paths and revised plans that everyone will be making, taking on. I cried for when the caps and gowns are taken off because with them will be an old shell and on their backs will be a new skin. Different and ready or unready. I cried because I was proud. Because I knew what it was like to be a proud mother and friend. A feeling I hope to feel more and more with time and a feeling I was glad to be let in on that afternoon in that theater hall with clapping hands and bellows of pride echoing from the mouths of families all filled with one thing- love.
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
You're off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!"
Congrats Tyler*. I'm so excited for your journey.
*Yep, that's my friend in the picture. The picture is via The Arizona Daily Star. Already making headlines.