My daughter Rose graduated from high school last night. She walked with her graduating class of nearly 600 students, even though she officially completed all her courses one semester early. (She said she wanted to "get a jump" on college classes.) So, she's been out of high school since Christmas and wasn't really sure she wanted to go back and participate in the ceremony.
I was always prepared to go along with whatever decision she made regarding "walking" with her class. I understood her feelings. By the time February rolled around, she had already moved on, and disconnected from most of the people that she associated with during her four years there. It seemed that she was definitely finished with this chapter of her life and looking forward to the next.
And, I’ll be honest. I was more than willing to accept her decision not to attend the ceremony as evidenced by the fact that I never tried to talk her out of her decision. Having MS has made certain things much more difficult for me. I just don’t do well in large crowds, especially when I know I will be forced to sit for hours and hours (on wooden bleachers) listening to valedictorians wax teenage angst about “life being a blank canvas”. Invariably, my body will start to heat up and (doesn’t matter what the air temperature is) this “heat” will travel to my head/brain (don’t ask me what specifically goes on “up there” when this happens), which results in dizziness and disorientation. So, it was more than okay with me to just skip it.
In the end, she decided she would attend the ceremony. Something pulled her back: I’m not sure what. I suspect it had something to do with the realization that this was a once in a lifetime event and maybe she shouldn’t be in such a hurry to move on. It was perhaps, her first experience with nostalgia, which, as defined by dictionary.com means:
"A wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, to one's family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time."
Yeah, without a doubt, that’s what it was…….”a wistful desire to return”. And, now that it's over, I'm delighted she did. It was the right thing to do. And, not just for Rose, but for me also.
You see, Rose is the last of my children to graduate high school. And, prior to last night, I was thrilled at the thought that this chapter of my life would finally be over. The former Catholic in me was saying, “Thank god”. I was ready to close the door on all things “high school”, from pep rallies and sports physicals to drivers ed., prom and ACTs.
But now, I’m just sitting here in this chair, writing this and replaying in my mind the song that the Graduating Class of 2008 chose as their theme:
Cause you're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this.
It gives me the chills…….this thing called nostalgia……….cause, ya know what? I am gonna miss this.
(Song by Trace Adkins)