Sorry folks, with graduation rapidly approaching I need to write the cliched, sappy graduation column. If you aren’t in the mood, just turn the page and we will call it a day. If you are still with me, here we go.
It seems like just yesterday that I gave birth to son #2. Cue “Sunrise, Sunset”; man, that song gets me every time. I turned around and standing before me is an 18-year-old, curly-haired, big-blue-eyed, sort-of-shaving, almost adult who is graduating high school. And going to Israel for the year. Possibly two years. I am sorry, but wasn’t it just yesterday that I was graduating high school? That I was thanking my teacher for passing me in Chumash class so I could get my diploma? Wasn’t it just yesterday that my friend and I slept in the Port Authority to catch the first bus home after an all-night graduation party? Oh wait, is my mom going to read this?
Somehow, I have raised a child who is good and kind. Who is responsible and thoughtful. But the most surprising thing of all—he is really, really good in math. Now, I attribute some of these traits to his father, some to my father, but the only characteristics that I am responsible for are the ones that cause me to say, “Wow, my mom always wished a child like me on me and here you are.” But in all seriousness, I am trying to figure out when this whole evolution happened. From waking me up three times a night to feed him, to him going to sleep after me and having to have me wake him up.
High school graduation. This is what I am going through with son #2 at the moment. I cannot believe how four years and Lord knows how many exams and hockey games can pass you by so quickly. I have had so many of his friends stay at my house that I have my own reviews on TripAdvisor. Most of the reviews are positive, except from my own family, but that is nothing new.
He and his friends are all leaving me next year, so even though they will be getting a break from me, I will be pining away for them to stomp through my house at all hours of the day or night. Playing Xbox on the main floor, an ancient Game Cube in the attic, eating whatever doesn’t eat them first. They don’t discriminate. It is actually amazing that you can leave anything out on a kitchen table and teenage boys will eat it. Anything.
Though I am quite sentimental about this impending milestone, it makes me think back to son #2’s first graduation—when he graduated kindergarten. This was always my favorite with all of my boys. I don’t know how they do this ceremony in other schools, but in my kids’ school, the head of early childhood presents each student with his own special award. It’s kind of like Oprah giving everyone their own car, but not really.
The Christopher Columbus Award goes to the cute little youngster who likes exploring new things. Perhaps the inside of his nose, but no one has to know that. And how about the Culinary Award? Given to the child who has consumed the most glue and Legos. Again, no one needs to know what this kid has actually done to get this award, everyone is a winner and everyone feels special. One of my sons even won a Pulitzer Prize for his outstanding writing ability.
But now we are here, 13 years later, on the cusp of adulthood. I tear up when I think about it because even though I know (well, if I am being honest, I pray) he will be back, just like his brother before him, it is never the same. I mean I will be the same—still annoying, still over-bearing, still mildly crazy (ok, maybe a tad bit more than mildly), but he will have experienced life without me. He will have met new people, learned about all of the things that I am doing wrong, had really good rugelach that I will never learn how to make. Oh God, what happens if he doesn’t want to come back? Of course he will, eventually he will want to play Xbox again...I think. Maybe I will just make him a really great graduation party and hope for the best…
Congratulations to all of the graduates, big, small and all those in between.
By Banji Latkin Ganchrow
Banji Ganchrow will miss all of her sons, both the real ones and the almost real ones that call her mom. At least the almost real ones are always nice to her...