The day had come- the one you knew would,
since the day they entered kindergarten. Graduation. The night before I was unable to sleep. My baby boy graduates in the morning, then he'll work all summer, off to college in the fall and gone for 2 years on a mission. In essence, this was the beginning of good-bye. What could I do to make these last moments special. I decided to wake up early and decorate his car and make him breakfast.
At 6:30, I am outside with school color blue marker in hand writing how much we loved him and to Honk for the new graduate! Then I blow up balloons-4 blue and 1 big yellow one. On Big Yellow, I carefully write, "You are Our Sunshine"- That was the song we sang to him when he was little. I tied them all up on the passenger side. I looked at the decked out car and felt a masterpiece stood before me. It was done. Now for breakfast.
I'm off making waffles and homemade blueberry topping with sausage and bacon and I hear the graduate steps coming down the stairs with gown in hand- Can you iron this? Of course I can. I go to take it. He goes to walk back up the stairs when I hear a change of plans and the front door opens instead. He must have noticed my handiwork through the window. A second later the door closes again and back up the stairs he goes with no comments, like WOW! You got up in the wee hours of the morning and did this for me! Thanks Mom. OR Man! What great penmanship! or Those hearts were so artistically pleasing! Or Hey! that message on the balloon touched me right here as he points to his heart. No. Just a door close and pounding of footsteps back up the stairs.
He rushes back down after showering and finds Grandma had finished ironing his gown while I finished making breakfast. He sits to eat a few bites and declares it's time to go. The next thing I hear is the door opening and a loud "pop" and then he's back in the house with balloons in hand which he had cut off and threw on the ground and a defiant declaration- "Just so you know, the yellow one is popped." and off he went.
My heart felt just like that big yellow balloon. I was crushed. I wanted to cry. I thought I can't be mad- we have to go to graduation and if I'm mad then I'll ruin the mood for everyone else. So I tried to think happy thoughts. Duane also tried to offer me consolatory words. "It was your gift to him and he received it, maybe not the way you wanted him to, but it was his gift and he could do with it what he wanted."
"OK, I can let this go."
Letting go. That's what I was really doing wasn't it? Trying to find a way to let go of the baby who was now a young man and taking off. I reasoned with myself, keeping him home wouldn't be any good. I mean I would know he was safe and cared for, but he wouldn't progress, he wouldn't be tested and come to know himself and his strengths and abilities and he wouldn't become what he was meant to become. So I had to let him go. As these thoughts lingered, the parallels of eternal truths impressed upon me. And thus we had to come to earth to get a body and have this mortal experience so we could be tested and progress and become what we were meant to become. This graduation was but a dress rehearsal of life and our purpose here.
So I let the pain of popped balloons float off to oblivion and headed to graduation with a different attitude of letting go- this was just a step on his journey. Not the end and thanks to his antics, I was finding it easier to let go... the little scamp! :)
But once seated in the stadium next to the loud speakers blaring good bye songs and seeing the array of blue robed graduates entering the field- the tears came, dripping down my face like a leaky faucet. I needed to see my boy. Everything was a blur. I called out frantically to Duane, "Help me find Jordan!" He enlisted the kids' help and within seconds we spotted our sunshine amidst the sea of blue. Tufts of blond hair sticking out from his cap and with his laid back walking style like he was headed to McDonald's instead of on one of the momentous walks of his life. He jumped up and high fived his walking mate and then later receiving his diploma, did a signature move of brushing off his shoulder- like no sweat! The graduates were then moved out to the field with beach balls bouncing up in the air and tassels being switched to the right side and caps being flung into the air with gusto and whoops of elation exploding the arena. They had done it!
We rushed the field to find our boy and congratulate him. The darn tears were escaping again as my boy came into view. I reached the one who allots me only one brief hug a day at bed time and if it lasts any longer than a second, a push away is quickly applied. Surprisingly, he relented his one second hug rule, maybe it was the throngs of witnesses there, or he was in a nostalgic haze, or maybe he just had compassion on his emotional mommy who longed to hug her boy. Whatever the judgement call, he let me in and I laid my head on his chest and tried to hold back the wave of emotions ready to crest. I reminded myself, "Tina, we are taking pictures after this, do you want a mascara stained face looking back at you for years to come?" Well, that little self-chat did the job and I reined the tears back in and just held my boy. Yeah, this was the moment I would remember for years to come, when my boy let me hold him... without letting go.
Congratulations Graduates of 2011! You did it! And hugs to all the Moms out there- who are letting them go.