This girl…

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First Day of Elementary School

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Elementary School Graduation

We’d been preparing for my daughter’s graduation for months. As I drove her to school, we would discuss the particulars: what she should wear, the fact that she should – for this very special occasion – actually comb her hair, etc. Most importantly, I apologized to her in advance for the fact that there would be ugly crying. I explained to her that it simply couldn’t be helped. She would have to avert her gaze and pretend that her mother was not disgracing herself in the audience with racking sobs and snot streaming out of her bright red nose.

Nothing went as planned. The dress I thought she would wear was too small for her. I pulled a dress out of my own closet and it fit her perfectly. She put on a pair of my ballet flats and they fit perfectly too. When we stood back to back, I realized she had snuck past me. My ten year old daughter is now about an inch taller than me.

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It was only a week before her graduation when I realized I would not be able to be there. I broke the news to her in the car as I drove her to school one morning.

I’m so sorry, I’ve got some really sad news. I just realized that I’m going to have to miss your graduation because of my conference in Denver, and I’m absolutely devastated!

I never realized until that very moment that it’s actually possible to hear and feel someone grinning from the back seat.

My husband texted me photos of the graduation as it was happening. I stood transfixed in the middle of a busy Expo Hall as the photos came through one by one. People rushed around me, politely averting their gaze, as I stood there staring at my phone with big fat tears streaming down my face.

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