On Graduating

Tonight my youngest nephew, my godson, is graduating from high school. I’m feeling a little melancholy about it. After all, he was the child attached to my hip for the first two years of his life. Everyone thought he was my baby and I began to imagine he was. After a time, when he no longer needed his nanny to hold him, he would hold my hand and smile at me with that mischievous smile that always melts my heart. He’s 18 now. Not a baby anymore, but to me, he’ll always be my baby.

Thinking about watching him walk across that stage tonight, I’m reminded of the graduations I’ve attended in the past. I barely remember my sister’s graduation. I was nine when she graduated from high school and it didn’t seem that big a deal to me. My own high school graduation was more memorable. Mostly because I was wearing heels and I was scared to death about falling into the orchestra pit. We had to stand on this little carpeted podium for everyone to see us before we took our diploma.

So there I am in wobbly heels and it’s my turn to stand on the podium. I carefully planted my feet and swiveled to face the audience. Later, my friend told me it was awesome cause I looked like I had attitude. I did have attitude, but I was quaking with the fear of impending humiliation. I didn’t fall. Thank God.

College graduation was more emotional. I tried to ignore my uncle’s lime green leisure suit and white patent leather shoes, ignored my dad shouting my name…I just concentrated on breathing. As I approached the stage, I just knew they were going to yank me out of line and explain that no, I couldn’t graduate because that Math class I took needed a “C” to pass, not the “D” I walked out with. I expected it even as I crossed the stage and shook someone’s hand. It wasn’t until after I turned my cap and gown in and had my diploma in hand that I felt the tears starting. I’d finally done it.

Just two years later, my brother graduated from high school and I was devastated. My stepfather had died three months before and wasn’t there to see his only son walk across the stage. My entire family went to that graduation to support him. It was bitter-sweet, but we pulled together.

Four years later, he graduated from college the same year as my oldest nephew graduated from high school. The pain of my stepdad’s absence was still felt, but we were healing. I cried for my nephew’s graduation…he was my little Patty-melt who used to drive me insane, but was so sweet. He’d ask us “Why you not happy to me?” when we fussed him for something. And there he was, in a cap and gown, walking across the stage, looking like a man. My brother was the same. The little boy I used to play Voltron with, G.I. Joe, Nintendo, and throw pine cones at was a fully grown man about to head out into the big, mean world.

And tonight I’m closing another chapter. My godson will walk across that stage and prepare for college. I’m so happy for him, but I worry. I know how mean and cruel the world can be and I don’t want him to have to experience that heartache, but I also know that the best lessons learned are those we experience for ourselves. I only hope he realizes that and if he ever needs help, he can come to his nanny.

My, what a long post! Waxing poetic about graduation and the like. *sigh* I’ll be just fine, folks. Just realizing that my babies are growing up and soon they’ll be making more little babies for me to worry about (not too soon though!).

So, this is for the Class of 2010 whether they’re graduating from kindergarten, high school, college, or boot camp. May your dreams come true, may you live long and be happy, but don’t forget those who came before you have valuable information just waiting to be shared. Seek out advice and follow it.

For my regular readers, back to sassy old me tomorrow…a few Crash n’ Burns at Copelands should take care of all melancholy!


Filed under Family

6 responses to “On Graduating

  1. KAK

    Awww! “Why you not happy to me?”

    So cute! Do you ever look at him when he’s on a roll and ask him that?

    • He’s a 20-year-old punk now and his mother and I frequently ask him that. He just rolls his eyes at us unless his girlfriend is with him, and she says “Awww”. It was unbearably cute. That and when he wanted to be picked up, he’d put his hands up at you and say, “Oy! Oy! Oy!”…*sigh*

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  3. It’s hard when you help raise a child and a few weeks later (or so it seems) you have a few more wrinkles and that child is graduating from college! I am the same with my nephew and niece. I swear I really birthed them!!

    • Tonya – Yes! He is my child. We went to dinner last with our family and his girlfriend’s family and when his girlfriend asked him where he wanted to sit, it had to be next to me. *sniff* He loves his nanny.

      Tammy – I didn’t cry. It was close, I was a little choked up, but I didn’t cry. Mostly because I was boggling at the girls’ shoes. 5″ heels? Really? For a graduation??

  4. Congrats to your godson (and nephew). I’m sending BIG hugs your way. (I’m sniffling my own tears so I understand.)

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