Thursday, May 22, 2008


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.


WT said...

I have to confess that I'm a bit bemused by the American education system, for a start I've never understood the school year ending halfway through the calendar year.

But even more confusing is why you have so many damn graduation ceremonies! We consider graduation when you have completed your schooling, not every couple of years during it.

Carolyn said...

Sweet post. You almost had me crying. But I'm a cryer, so it doesn't take much. I'll cry for a Tim Horton's commercial if my mood is right.

(Tim Horton's is a Canadian doughnut chain btw.)

Kaycie said...

What a sweet boy.

Maggie May said...

I can relate to the remarks of "wt said..." We graduate at the end of our education if we are lucky! And school year end in July & starts in Sept.
Your posts are always filled with genuine care & concern for others. You obviously love your sons to bits!!!!!!!

Nervus Rex said...

Oh Gawly Gee Willakers... you done made ME cry!

(of course, I have my oldest graduating from elementary this year... and I'm so dang proud of them all!)

Your Sons are Incredible and you deserve to be Proud as Punch!


Flowerpot said...

I cry at th e drop of a hat - if I had children I'm sure I'd be even worse - god help me!

Rudee said...

As a parent, I agree with WT. If a couple of weeks vacation is good enough for us, it should be good enough for our kids. I especially agree if the kids are mouthy (like mine.) However, as a kid, I loved my summers off. I'm sure that back in the day, summers off were designed so the kids could be where they were needed

I'm certain they're all special, but Surfer Dude seems to be able to get right to the heart of the matter and knows what's important. Lucky you.

Merlin's Wizard said...

That was a very beautiful blog.

Merlns Wizard

Anonymous said...

Love this much. I know exactly the feelings you describe.
What a beautiful night...walking hand in sweet. Those are the kind of parenting moments that stay deep in our hearts.


my two cents said...

I'm right there with you.

Marti said...

Hey RC

I sure wish Lu could have been there to 'graduate' with the class. That will be one thing he missed with the move. Glad it was all it was supposed to made me cry reading it b/c I could picture it in my mind. And I would have been there crying like a baby right along with you.

I cried the first time Lu sang at a choir concert. Great memories, for sure.


Amy said...

I guess he ain't all bad.

aims said...

You should cry - your son was really sweet. How lucky you are!

Akelamalu said...

Oh I'm a big wuss when it comes to watching kids (anyone's kids) perform at anything, I bawl my eyes out!

the planet of janet said...

as my "baby" prepares to graduate from middle school, i weep copiously at the weirdest things:

the last middle school open house. realizing she's too tall for me to do hair without her scootching down. shopping. hugs.

hopefully i get over this before i totally humiliate her.

Nora said...

With my son having died and my daughter now being 34, I have left all you describe behind me, but I can still sympathize with you very much and remember how special all those days were, but I don't like being reminded of them, because it hurts. But that doesn't mean that I dislike you for having those feelings and sharing them with us. It just means that I am jealous of you for having them and I wish I could have them all over again. Enjoy them very much, even the tears, because it all goes by very quickly.

CrazyCath said...

I was reading through this post thinking how different you and I are because as I clear out cupboards today I do get wistful looking at stuff. But @I don't cry.

I was doing ok till your last lines.
Now I am going to clean out cupboards and try and explain to my husband why I am crying when I haven't found anything particularly sentimental in those cupboards yet. Dang.
It just grabs you *right here* when they grow up and do that.