Graduation - Reflection and Anticipation

This past weekend we attended by husband's youngest sister's college graduation in San Diego. As an only child, marrying the oldest of four children has meant attending many more graduation ceremonies than I otherwise would have. While I could do without listening to another speech on memories and preparing for future endeavors, sitting through another group of hundreds of students walking across a stage, and pretending to sing another alma mater that I do not actually know, there is something about graduations and stepping into the next stage of life that tugs at my heart strings a little.

I always end up reflecting on my own past graduations.

There was my preschool graduation where we walked across a little wooden bridge wearing gold paper crowns and sat for what seemed like forever. And then there was cake!

I remember virtually nothing from my kindergarten graduation except for singing some sort of song with choreographed movements (the perfect video and photo opp for proud parents) and giving my teacher Miss Toole (unfortunate last name I know) a big hug at the end.

I remember spending forever at the mall searching for just the right dress and shoes for my fifth grade graduation and being terrified that I would trip as I walked into the gym next to (gasp!) a boy. Afterwards there were lots of pictures with my two best friends. Thanks to the magic of facebook I still keep up with them. It's hard to believe th at we now have 6 (going on 7) kids between us.

Next came eighth grade graduation where the chorus sang a "lovely" rendition of R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly.". Afterwards 4 of my friends came over for a slumber party where we took lots of pictures, played MASH, and discussed the beginning of our menstrual cycles ( our biggest female accomplishment to date).

Then there was high school graduation. Both sets of my grandparents flew out for the big event. I had graduated at the top 10% of my class and been accepted into my top choice of college, I was wearing a lovely white polyester cap and gown, I had a boyfriend (who I dumped about a month later), and the world was my oyster.

Finally my college graduation, the one that really felt like an accomplishment after four years of living away from my parents, studying, contemplating careers, and building friendships to last a lifetime. I was getting married in just three months and moving to Brooklyn, NY. This time I knew that my life was really going to change. This next transition was going to be a big one.

I did not attend my graduate school graduation. The thought of paying for one more polyester outfit and sitting through another list of names just did not appeal to me. I knew what I had accomplished.

As I sat through my sister-in-law's graduation this past weekend and reflected on my many graduation experiences I came to a sudden realization. The next graduation that I attend will probably be my son's preschool graduation (it's still a ways off, he's only 18 months). The cycle is starting over and this time I'm not the graduate but the proud parent. I have entered a new stage of life. I imagine that my memories of this next set of graduations will be very different than the first set. However, each graduation will still bring with it a new stage of life - a new era and a new time to reflect.

I suddenly feel older.


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