8th Grade Graduation

Booger #1 graduated middle school two days ago! Yikes! I think I was in shock through most of it. How did this happen? How is he going into High School? I use to be able to hold him, and carry him around. Now the little dude is not so little! He has to bend down to hug me, and I’m not so petite either!

It was a ginormous graduating class. 360 some kids! I think mine had closer to 90. I haven’t thought about my own. Ever. Not until sitting through his. Wow, I almost remember it. Mainly, I remember the excitement I could feel emanating off those kids. The pride keeping their heads high and their backs straight. I could not wait to leave elementary school (we didn’t have a ‘middle’. It was kindergarten through 8th grade). I could not wait to flee that school and rush head first into high school.

Four kids gave speeches, and I was- as always- a conundrum of juxtaposing emotions and reactions. They listed clubs and honors and after school activities they were part of. I wanted to turn to my mom and whine how unfair that was. She sent us to a catholic school, and we were given none of those things. Girls weren’t even allowed to play sports! They ‘educated’ us as though it was only by law and not something we’d ever truly use. These kids get creative writing, journalism, languages, computers, sports, clubs. Our education system has come by much farther than we think, and they are so much more prepared for the world than I was. Their teachers are from my generation, so yes, thank them. They pushed the boundaries and got you advancements you don’t know are advancements.

I watched the procession and pointed out in exasperation to my mom how many of the girls were wearing high heels. HIGH heels. They’re thirteen! Still children, and in such a hurry to be grown up. Heels do not make you grown. Save your feet. Wear flats. Please please, let yourselves be children for a long while longer. Trust me on that.

The woman below us must have heard my comment on heels, because soon she was exclaiming ‘She left the house in silver flats! She changed!’. I have boys. I can absolutely laugh.

The speeches. I wanted to laugh more. No, not out of spite or malice. They were so emotional, talking about best friends and their teachers, and again, trying so hard to be so grown up, and how great a thing middle school is. I did get teary, but I was smiling, so wanting to tell them they have no idea. No idea how wrong they are, and the greater things that will await them. The world became so big for me just before and into high school. Endless and evolving and I was suddenly a part of it.

I was not a popular kid, but in a high school of 4000, you didn’t need to be. It remains the brightest period of my life: the kids I met, the things I learned and discovered. Shop classes! The independence and ability to make choices for myself about myself. These kids, as far ahead in the game as they are in comparison to me. Wow. How much greater life is about to get, more than they can imagine. Their lives are truly starting right now, and it saddened me, to remember myself at that age, and for my son to be in this age. Life is a complete circle, and somehow, sitting at his 8th grade graduation felt like a replacement over mine. No, resentment didn’t factor anywhere into my conundrum of juxtaposed emotions. I just had the strangest feeling as though life truly is this circle, and mine is being recovered by his experiences.

I’m watching the kids, glowing so bright! And their parents who are beaming, and I wanted to ask if they felt that too: their own memories being paved over with their children’s?

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One thought on “8th Grade Graduation

  1. I enjoyed your post about your son’s graduation. Time flies doesn’t it? I just realized my oldest grandson will turn ten in August. OMG! I always think life is moving so slowly. Then I realize how things have changed and realize it moves faster than I think. Sounds like you wish you had an easier time of it in grammar school. Well, maybe it would have been easier. However you turned out to be a stronger person because of your experiences. Seems like you did just fine to me. Don’t hate me for reminding you that adversity builds character. Have a great week!

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