And Then He Shuddered

Today was Zach’s convocation, the presentation of the class of 2014.  I went to bed last night knowing it was going to be a hard day, especially since Zach submitted his first college application yesterday.  This day came so fast.  I went to Jan’s convocation three years ago and back then it seemed like a life time away until Zach came to this day, although the practical side of me knew it would be here in the blink of an eye, and it was.  Today’s event came way too fast.

This morning I raced around the house trying to get myself ready to head out the door so I could get to school in time.  The feelings in my heart and head made the morning seem a bit out of whack and more than a little fuzzy.  My focus was way off, so my racing around seemed more like a chicken with its head cut off.

Getting to school on time was a feat in and of itself, but I did it.  And I showed up unprepared.  No tissues.  I knew today was going to be a tearjerker.

Let me explain a little more about convocation.  Like I said above, convocation is the presentation of the class of 2014.  This is when the each senior class is given their responsibilities for the year and also presented with accolades for their achievements bringing them this moment.  The entire class marches in their gowns to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance.”  Cue the tears….

Zach has a distinct walk.  Kind of a swagger but not really, it’s just a very self confident gait.  We saw him easily as he marched in to the strains of the music that can produce tears in many a mom.  He was in his graduation gown.  It was my first glimpse of him and my heart stopped.  It was then I saw it.  The almost-grown-up Zach.  The one who is ready to take on the world and his semi-swagger showed me.

But even that didn’t stem my tears.  Luckily for me, my friend, Leslie, tried to keep the tears from being embarrassing by not only supplying me with tissues, but also pinching me to stop the tears every time she saw my tears threaten to spill.

The ceremony started with the pledge of allegiance and introductions from the principal.  My tears.  They were there during the Pledge, but more on that later.

It was when “The Power of the Dream” was sung by the seniors that I began to try and see this from Zach’s perspective.  This is all about him, his class and the power of their dreams.  The power of growing up.

This song was followed by the poem “The Dash.”  If you haven’t read it, you should.  Today, it was nearly my undoing.  The tears fell from my chin as I tried desperately to hide them from Leslie so I wouldn’t get pinched again.

Next up…the guest speaker.  He is the youngest university president in the U.S.  He has a bio out the ass.  His name is Dr. Christopher Howard and he was phenomenal!  I won’t go into all of the details but he had five Be’s for the class of 2014.

Be Yourself.
Be Humble.
Be Accountable.
Be Courageous.
Be the Change You Want to See in the World.

It was all great advice and the entire audience, the graduating class included, stayed engaged and involved the entire time he spoke.

The event ended with a small reception afterward and then it was off to lunch with our favorite seniors.

When Zach and I were finally alone, he asked if I cried.  It was then I had to fess up.  Although I cried in many parts of the ceremony, my tears actually began at the beginning of the ceremony.  They began in earnest during the Pledge of Allegiance.  I couldn’t make my voice work.  I stopped talking.  The tears flowed.  I told Zach the truth.  He high fived me, as we laughed at my extreme sentimentality.   When Claire heard that I cried during the Pledge she cracked up laughing and I had to ask…who the HELL cries at The Pledge of Allegiance?  REALLY!?!?  I understand I cry easily…but this was the FRICKING Pledge of Allegiance.  I have to believe I may be certifiably crazy to allow tears to stop me in my tracks as I tried to recite something we’ve all recited since we began school.

Our topic of conversation changed from my crazy, idiotic tears to graduation party plans. I told Zach we’d be having a family and friend party right after graduation.  Zach’s response was, “I’m not doing that.  I’m gonna want to go out and party with my friends.  I’ll be a graduate.  I’ll be free and I can do whatever I want.”  And then he shuddered.  “Oh, that just made me feel a little sick to my stomach.  I’m not ready to grow up.”

Me either, Zach.  Me either.

Oh, for the love of my children…

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