I said I wouldn’t cry, but you knew better.
I stood in the Smith and Wesson University Arena with thousands of parents and loved ones, as you and 700 of your fellow high school classmates marched to Pomp and Circumstance and found your places among the rows of yellow and green chairs.
The lump in my throat was painful, and tears filled my eyes as I watched you walk with pride down the long aisle to your seat. I was taken aback at how beautiful and grown-up you looked.
As they began the long roll call of familiar names, memories flooded back to me in an unexpected rush. I thought of the circus performance in Mrs. Jones kindergarten classroom, and they way she described your class as “spirited” at the end of the year. I remembered trying to convince you NOT to place a love note in Johnny’s desk in third grade, and how you are still mortified when I bring it up. I remember thinking about how brave (and stupid) you were when you and six other girls lip-synced (very badly, I might add) to a Brittany Spears song in the talent performance in middle school.
I remembered the many soccer games; birthday parties; orchestra and choir performances; trips to the ER; detentions in middle school; field hockey games; amazing teachers; frenemies and loyal friends who all had a hand in this journey of yours.
I also remember the painful lessons learned these past few years, as you handled a horrifying stalking situation with courage. I hope that you always remember to reach out when you know that something wrong.
But when they played the alma mater at the end, and I saw YOU wipe the tears from your eyes? That was the moment that convinced me that you might ready to move into this next chapter of your life, and I might be ready to let you go.
May you carry that compassion, that spirit, that courage and that drive to win into all that you do.
(However, if someone mentions a talent show, I would quickly and respectfully decline.)