Yes, my firstborn graduates from high school today. My baby, the person who changed my very existence just by showing up one day.
I’m proud and I am ecstatic and I am nostalgic. So many choices that I have made, that he has made, end up with us right here.
The moment I found out that I was pregnant was filled with excitement and terror. But from the very first look at that little blue line, I knew that he was my baby. I loved him with all of my heart.
Choosing to raise my boys here in this tiny and close-knit community…any questions I have had over the years about whether or not that was best for them, are answered today. Yes, bringing them up here was the best decision that I could ever have made. The things that they might have missed out on (culture, a more varied education, a larger pool of potential friends); none of those things are as important as their sense of belonging.
He is walking today with young men and women whom he has known since he was born. They are some of the closest friends a person will ever have.
T – the girl he fell in love with on the first day of kindergarten because she could “push him high on the tire swing.”
AC – the next girl he feel in love with and dated maybe 15 different times over the years.
D – the boy who fought him in kindergarten because Greg showed up wearing purple socks.
J – so close, they’d be madly in love if they weren’t like brother and sister. When her brother died way back in middle school, Greg insisted on going to the funeral saying “she’s my friend.” That was when I understood that he understood what true friendship means.
N – the boy who is now a father. The boy with whom my son got in shitloads of trouble. The boy whose parents I have spent a lot of time sitting with outside the principal’s office.
And most importantly, A. A has been a part of our lives almost since the day they were born. A’s mom has been my co-parent and best friend since the day we first met.
Our boys were inseparable for countless years; there’s no way to count the adventures, the learning, the excitement, the trouble, the hours that they have spent together.
They drifted, as childhood buddies often do. Different likes and dislikes, different activities and interests, different things that make them tick. And yet, they will forever be connected – forever friends. They hold such a special place in each other’s hearts.
And these children hold such a special place in my heart. I feel a sense of pride and, for lack of a better word, ownership for each of these children. I love so many of them, appreciate immensely who they have become and what decent people they’ve turned out to be.
And I know that there will be parents in the audience today who feel the same way about my child. This community is family and full of love.
And that’s what my children may have missed out on in exchange for culture or AP classes.
And as he says goodbye to an era with his classmates, I am saying goodbye to an era with their families, so as I write this, I am bawling.
How am I going to hold it together in the auditorium if I can’t even get my sorry arse out of bed?