I've realized through this whole parenthood thing that I'm not sentimental in the usual way. I don't get shivery feelings from old baby clothes, looking back at kid's school projects from years gone by doesn't give me wistful thoughts, and the discovery of a long lost pre-school toy doesn't make me want to conceive again immediately. I guess when you come right down to it, I'm not sentimental about much in the "normal" sense. Toys are toys, clothes are clothes - they're just things. Loaded with memories, perhaps, but still just things.
What does get to me is the occasions. I've teared up at more than one kid's orchestra performance or soccer game. Watching Gumby follow my passion and learn to play tennis makes me all weepy. I hide by the snack stand so I won't embarrass him, but I'm not sure it works. Listening to the other parents on the soccer team yell for someone to pass the ball to Surfer Dude so he can shoot it makes me goosebumpy whether he scores or not. And the first time Sasquatch got to the county spelling bee I knew I would never forget his worried little face (or the word he went out on - argyle). I'm a sucker for the everyday moment, which means, almost by definition, that I sometimes get sideswiped by unexpected emotion.
Tonight Gumby graduated from elementary school. It was a very sweet ceremony, and, like expected, I got all drippy. One of the sixth grade teachers lost it while she was making her speech and every mom in the place just bawled. At least all the ones right by us did. I'm morally obligated to go along with the crowd, so I joined right in to the sob fest. But I knew I'd cry before I even set foot into the stuffy gym, knew that the sight of my "middlest" on that podium would send me over the edge, knew that the knowledge that next year will be our last year in elementary school ever was adding to all the waterworks. It was emotion, all right, but not at all unexpected.
Afterward, Surfer Dude and I walked home together while Gumby hung out at school. He was poking fun at all the crying and made a seriously anti-feminist comment about sobbing women that I really should have nipped in the bud pronto. I was trying to explain to him why it all got to me, when he casually just reached over and took my hand. And as we walked down the street, with car after car of his friends driving by us honking and waving on their way from school, he continued to walk hand in hand with me - all the way home.
Where I promptly cried my eyes out. But this time I did it in private.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Posted by the rotten correspondent at 12:02 AM