Tag Archives: Graduation

I’m 18, and I like it!*

It is important to do things that scare you a little.

“I’d love to see you,” he wrote and he sent me his phone number.

I called him immediately.

“Hi, it’s Kel.” He had written Kel in his email. It made me smile. “I called you right away because making phone calls can give me a panic attack, so I figured I’d just call and get it over with.”

I hate making phone calls. And seeing people I haven’t seen in eighteen years makes me nervous. But it was worth it.

I use an app on my phone when I run that says “Half way” when you are, well, half way. The last time I saw Tommy we were “half way.” We were eighteen.

Now we are thirty six. Thirty six and three kids between us. Not between us. But two for me, one for him. And other than the kids running around and the technology that allowed Tommy to make the picture below mere moments after it was taken, nothing has changed at all. He talks quickly and laughs easily. He puts his arm around you when someone takes a picture and it is neither flirtatious nor brotherly. Yet somehow he makes you feel cared for in a way that makes you feel uniquely feminine. As a teenage girl I was acutely aware of what an incredibly nice boy he was. Eighteen years later I watched him kneel down and talk to his lovely daughter and I could see what an incredibly good man he has become.

It’s fun to “keep in touch” digitally. We can watch our old classmates live their lives from a safe distance. But it isn’t the same. If you have the chance to put yourself in the same space as someone that knew you when you were half way… do it. It feels good. You can see how far you’ve come.

We will be seventy-two when today is half way. Let’s not wait that long again, Tommy.

*Can anyone really get enough of Alice Cooper?

525,600 minutes…

Or about four inches.  That is how you measure a year.

Last June Emily graduated from her preschool wearing a dress with purple flowers.  She had a sweet little smile and her bangs needed a trim.  I was a tiny bit pregnant and wearing pigtails.


Emily, June 2011, preschool graduation

This morning that sweet faced little girl graduated from Kindergarten in the same dress.  It was shorter this year.  She continues to grow up. Straight up.  Her face is sharper.  She is growing out her bangs and is typically wearing no fewer than two hair accessories.  I curled her hair this morning.  Two hours later I arrived at school and she had another hairdo altogether.


She proudly held her little sister during a good portion of the graduation ceremony.  The back of her neck makes me tear up.  There is something beautiful about the back of a woman’s neck.  Hers is no exception.  In that six (almost seven!) year old neck I can see the young woman she will become.  Inches below her neck is the freckle she had when she was born.

Somewhere between that freckle and that young woman’s neck will be tears and heart break and laughter and joy too numerous too imagine.  She will not always be in a white dress with purple flowers, but she will always be my baby, my Emily June.


Emily, June 2012, Kindergarten Graduation


There are no words to describe this last year.  A fearless little girl started kindergarten in a brand, new school.  Weeks later she started again at yet another new school, beginning a new chapter in a new home.

Your baby face has faded, in its place a crooked smile complete with wiggly teeth.  You still let me call you “tiny heiney” but you were appalled when I mooned you the other day in the kitchen.  You have a new found sense of propriety.

You still sleep with pinky blanket, but the night your sister was born you did not.  I held it in my hands, wiped the tears from my face, the sweat from my forehead with it.  It was a reminder that I had all the strength I needed to make you a big sister.

And what a big sister you have become.  Your patience is out measured only by your kindness.  She watches you endlessly.  Your “baby sway” would lead one to believe that you were a teeny tiny grandmother.   I could go on and on, sweet girl, but the tears streaming down my face have soaked your sister as she sleeps in my lap.

When you turned one I told you you were my big, bright star.  And little lady, you do not disappoint.  Every time you grow a little bit older I tell you to knock it off.  But underneath the sentimentality of motherhood, I secretly rejoice.  One day we will share a glass of wine and reminisce about growing up.  Because I am growing right along with you. I love you, kiddo.  More than you may ever know.


Day 84: Plant a seed…

Today plant an apple core in a park and come back in 20 years to check on your tree.

Par for the course lately… I accomplished day 84’s challenge, in a round about way.  I got up early this morning and took Fish out for a walk.  A typical day includes Fisher tagging along to work with me so he was flummoxed when I peeled him out of bed at 7 am.  I grabbed an apple on my way out the door.

Ordinarily I listen to a book while I take a walk but this morning I needed a minute to gather my thoughts.

I managed to juggle a dog leash (stuffed in my sports bra!  Hey, now!  My boobs nourished a child for three and a half years AND they walk my dog! Amazing!!) a cup of coffee and an apple  core.  I’d planned on planting my apple core somewhere along my walk today.  And as I knelt down next to the edge of some trees and dug a little hole with my foot I wondered if I’d be here to come check on “my tree” in twenty years as the book suggested.

And then I started to cry.  Because this was only the first seed that would  be planted today.  My little girl “graduates” from pre-school today.  She is excited.  She has practiced her song “My Future’s So Bright” complete with shades, of course. (Em is the second bobbing head from the left, in the back row!)  She has picked out an outfit.  She has expressed her malcontent with continuing to go to pre-school for the remainder of the summer “because it makes no sense, I have GRADUATED!” She is ready.

Again I am left to wonder how it is that I have prepared her for yet another transition and failed to prepare myself at all.  With each passing milestone of her childhood I am surprised all over again that it has crept up on me and yet seems to have come all but too slow for her liking.

I see in her a determination that I envy.  We have been hard at work on swimming this summer.  Our new pool requires the kids swim a length of the pool in order to go down the tube slide.  From the day we found out she has been practicing.  And rapidly, fearlessly improving.  It is not just the former swimming teacher in me that swells with pride.  She is convinced daily that “Today I will pass that test!”  and is not defeated when she climbs out of the pool to head home for dinner with the knowledge that it might take “one or two more practices.”

I know it is not unusual for a kid to be convinced of their inevitable success.  Each child at graduation this morning held up a picture of what they were going to be “when they grew up.”  Doctors, teachers, ballerinas, veterinarians, mothers, a samurai, Darth Vader and a Superman.  Not one of them said “I’m going to live in my parent’s basement and wait tables until this crappy temp job turns permanent.”  Children are hopeful by design.  But I can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment when I see how completely convinced she is of her success and happiness.

Emily has seen more sadness in me than I ever hoped to share with her.  But when I see her so certain that it will all work out for her, I know that she has not only noted my sadness and my struggles.  She has seen me relentlessly pursue that which will bring a smile to face, even when the journey took much longer than I had hoped.  She has seen me grow in to the woman that knows she deserves nothing short of a dream come true.

I thought I would be overwhelmed with how big she seemed today.  But instead I just kept looking at her little face.  Her nose is the same as when she was born.  Her fingers, though longer, still curl around mine just as they did when she was only a few days old.  Her skin, even peppered with bug bites and scrapes, still feels brand new.

I may not return to the corner where I planted an apple seed this morning.  But I will be here to see the seed that was planted today at graduation  grow.  I knew someday I’d put my arm around her, pulling her close to me, my eyes intently focused on the camera as if the camera could make that moment last forever.    I knew someday she’d pull away, her focus on where she was headed, not where she had been… but I had no idea she would still be so very small.