In the Mommy Zone column
Here I am, seated in the uncomfortable metal bleachers of the local high school with thousands of other parents, friends, and well wishers, wondering, watching, and waiting for the grandiose ceremony to commence. The symphony orchestra strikes up the graduation anthem as hundreds of high school seniors file in one by one, tasseled caps and crisp graduation gowns fluttering in the summer breeze.
I scan the serpentine line, anxiously searching for my second eldest son. My heart skips a beat as students march past while air horns blare, spontaneous applause erupts, and random parents shout as the graduation procession advances. Eventually, I spy my graduate in the distance. He stands head and shoulders above his fellow graduates, literally, his tall frame shrouded in emerald green. The procession approaches and my mind wanders.
Where has the time gone? I can’t believe I’m experiencing yet another milestone in his young life. I am nervous about what lies ahead. My mind flashes back to his childhood, bowl hair cut and chubby faced. His inquisitive, creative, and gentle nature intrigued me and I wondered what life path he would choose. Now here he is, standing on the brink of adulthood, ready to try his fledgling wings and soar.
My graduate quickly draws near and in an instant, I am snapped back into reality. I promptly stand, shout his name, and furiously wave, but mine is only one voice among thousands, one gesture lost in the excited throng. It seems pointless to try to capture his attention amid the ensuing chaos.
I remain standing, hoping somehow he knows that I’m here supporting him. I watch his lengthy stride and revel in this momentous occasion. As he advances down the crimson track surrounding the football field, my mind wanders again and takes me back to his Varsity cross country season, running miles about this very raceway. I vividly remember his unwavering athletic stamina, his remarkable work ethic, and his milestone achievement of jetting a sub-five minute mile.
In my mind’s eye, I see him leading the runner’s pack, setting the pace, lengthy legs striding and headband bobbing. I remember the hundreds of miles his feet pounded the pavement, the medals and ribbons he earned, and the exuberance he felt at crossing the finish line first and without a moment’s hesitation, headed straight up the bleachers towards me. I’ll never forget my own exuberance that he picked me to grace him with his celebratory hug after earning first place in the fastest race of his life.
A blast from a neighboring air horn brings me back to reality once more. My graduate is now walking directly in front of where I’m standing in the bleachers. I wildly wave and savagely scream his name, but amid the extravagant dissonance of the crowd, I’m drowned out yet again.
However, he scans the metallic stands as he passes. I hope that he can somehow pick me out of the ensuing pandemonium. Nevertheless, he knows I’m here somewhere.
Suddenly, he turns and faces my direction, steadily searching the crowd. He finally spots me and our eyes meet. He flashes a broad smile and waves, once more discovering me supporting him from the metal bleachers. In an instant, he turns and rejoins the distinguished procession, leaving me beckoning.
I now realize that as he embarks upon his new adventure, stretching his wings and soaring through life without his mother, I can find solace in the fact that he will always be able to find me. I will be forever supporting him from my usual spot, waving wildly from atop the metal bleachers.