Today you graduated high school. We came early to get good seats. We had them. I could have had great pictures of your friend Fiona–she came in that door. Instead it was a bit of craning our necks, looking for the child with the glasses. I knew you wouldn’t leave them off. It was good though that you came in through the other door. Otherwise I suspect we might have hugged in the middle of the procession. You and I are like that. I knew when you walked in for sure though. Why do I still doubt that radar that draws a mother’s eye to her baby?
Momal poured over the program–showing me all the places your name appeared. I texted you and our previous ETHS graduate child. Denise snarked a bit on Facebook over “It’s a great day to be a Wildkit” as a drinking game. She did this even though she may have said it many more times today than anyone speaking.
I realized when we got home–there were no pictures of you alone as a graduate. I’ve got a picture of you and Denise. We’ve got pictures of you and Momal and you and me, but none alone. It sort of irritates me in a strange way. I am sure I can buy one or your father will have one. Then I thought–you’ve never been the child alone. Except for those days in Eugene when Ava was Joseph and in preschool. We’d do drop off and then the two of us would be alone for a couple of hours. I remember the joy of sharing M & Ms with you and telling you “shhh don’t tell Joseph.” as we wrapped up errands. But, really as my second born and social child, you’ve never really been alone. You’ve FELT alone, I know.
That’s not to say you aren’t singular. You head to Oberlin in August. You didn’t get there by being one of the crowd. Not just academic achievement or activities grants acceptance to Oberlin. You were flustered by the flurry of Senior Awards you received. I chuckled just over the PE award. Who would have thought that the child of two non-athletes, a child who herself enjoys walking and scootering, but not “sports” or even PE would win such a thing. But then, I remember your spirit. I remember how you really are Sunshine as all the school calls you. I suspect that Sunshine was something those PE teachers needed in the three years of Early Bird Gym.
You don’t “get” why you won the Marie Claire Davis Award. It isn’t humility, it is your blindness to the fact that your words dance and sparkle across the page. I read a lot of books, you know this, but there is nothing I like better than to read your writing. It slows me. It makes me think. It expands my vision. It stuns me. All those words you knew before you could pronounce them obey you in your writing.
Today was a day of pearls and sparkle. Tomorrow will be Monday Night Dinner. Tomorrow for a few hours with you and your siblings are home, I will be able to pretend it is just another Monday Night Dinner. But it won’t be. You’ll be a high school graduate. The clock ticks surely and steadily toward your leaving home for college. Where you go beyond that is unknowable to me at this point.
I know your future spreads spectacularly in front of you though. I know you will take my heart out into the world and give your own heart to the world. I know you have sparkled since you were born and you will sparkle forever. I know that I am proud to have YOU as my daughter, the real you, the secret you, all of you. I know that having you as a daughter has made me strive higher as a woman. But most of all, I love you. Anything. Anywhere. Endlessly.
And yes, there is a small bit of irony in the fact that this is a rare picture of you over the age of three with less hair than I have currently.