Thursday, June 17, 2010

To My 8th Grade Graduate ....

To My Darling Son,

I cannot tell you how proud I am to see this day come.  I can still remember the first day of kindergarten with you holding my hand.  A nice sunny day, you dressed nicely in sweatpants and polo type shirt.  You favorite sneakers at the time were Pokemon and there were still Velcro.  It took you a long time to learn the art of tying your shoes.  But this letter isn't about that.  You ran right into your new classroom and just gave me a wave over your shoulder.  You didn't look back.  I might have cried a little over it.

You have come so far in the past three years.  You have begrudgingly become a reader and while your first choice of book is an anime one, you can easily read through a science fiction story and do a decent book report.  You write honestly about how you feel and make comparisons of yourself to characters. It took some time for this years teachers to understand you and how unique you are but they did it beautifully and I cannot thank them enough for that.

I will admit I was less than excited to go tonight.  Not because I didn't want to see you walk across the stage but because I had no idea it was all happening until this morning.  At 9 am to be exact.  Long after I had taken you to school.  You never mentioned a thing.

It doesn't take but a little bit of knowing you to get why you never mentioned it.  You didn't want to go.  I heard you loudly and clearly.  No amount of suggesting sitting with friends, bribing you with ice cream or telling you how important it was to me changed your mind in the hours before I wanted to leave.

Maybe I was wrong to insist you go.  I didn't think so at the time but as I watched you heartily go for the slam of each door we walked through and then stop it at the last second with your hand, did I really understand how angry you were with me for making you do that.  (and how badly I feel for your wife ultimately because she will miss that you are mad by your doing that)

In the car I just couldn't bear to hear you choking back sobs.  Staring out the window, so close, that if it were rolled all the way down you'd fall right out.  I stopped at the end of our street and told you to get out.  When I said you could go home and sit in your room, no games, no TV and no computer, I hope you realize that it was to make the point of if I am not having fun NO ONE IS HAVING FUN.

YES, I went anyway.  Sat with another Mom and her girls.  Mixed in the audience, full of your classmates and their relatives, and the empty chair right next to me.  Your seat.  In a way it really was for the best.  You'd keep asking me what time it was, getting up to go to the bathroom, biting your nails and fidgeting in your seat.  Crowded, hot auditoriums aren't your thing.  You would have pointed out to me that your two best friends weren't even there, like I had suggested they might be.  You would give off a strong vibe of annoyance.

I got my camera ready when they began showing a video of candid shots with the kids in your class.  But there wasn't a single one of you.  I took a snapshot of the chair next to me instead.  It was hard not to cry when I thought about your sister, two years before, in this same room laughing and carrying on with her friends as the awards were handed out.  I listened and applauded as homerooms were called up and students names called out to receive their diploma's.  When it came to your spot, I watched the presenter just set yours aside.  Many were set aside, you weren't the only one not there.

Two hours later I found myself back home, the house silent.  Your door firmly closed with a hand written "Go Away" sign on the door.  I had to laugh.  You and I, are so very much alike.

I would have thought that both of us sleeping on it would have made it better.  But somehow this morning was just as bad.  Our morning ride.  Silent.  I did notice the sign was gone.  Vanished as quickly as it had arrived.  There were many things I wanted to say to you about the night before but it was just too early in the morning to really get into it.  (and yes, it was obvious, with you back at the window, hoping to crawl out it, AGAIN, and all, might have been a deterrent.)

The best was the end of the day.  Your sweet phone call to me.  Apologizing for how awful you were to me last night and this morning he added sheepishly.  I gladly accepted and enjoyed hearing about a special BBQ held in the honor of the entire 8th grade (good kids only, of course) and how much you enjoyed it.

Yes, it has been an interesting three years and, regardless of the last 24 hours, I am looking forward to the next four and man you become.  I love you no matter what.


1 comment:

Amy said...

Oh how they break our hearts sometimes, don't they? I love that you wrote this, Mig. I love that you allowed him to go back home. I love that sometimes at 14, they are still fragile and tempermental and fiercely angry. And how we love them anyway.

Somewhere inside, he loves that you went anyway, you know. That you care.