Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pomp and Circumstance

This month I am using my blog as a sounding board for my homework.  We have to use two of the five senses in order to be nostalgic.  I’m not done with it yet, but I’ve been trying to write about this topic for two weeks now…I hope I got it!
            Frequently throughout life one takes a moment to reminisce.  Reflection is a wonderful activity to participate in, and it is something I frequently have my students participate in.  It only makes sense then that as a parent, on the cusp of a new career that I will be reflective from time to time.  Especially during the month of June.  You see, this month my son graduated Kindergarten.  Now I know, I just know, if you’re not a parent you are most likely rolling your eyes and a few of you may be wondering why mediocrity is celebrated.  But humor a mother for a little bit right now okay?  Or stop reading your choice.

            I knew I had to try to survive two parts of the Graduation.  Listening to “Pomp and Circumstance” and the emotional roller coaster that is the Graduation slideshow.  But I had a plan.  I would help out during Graduation.  After all, my son’s school is also where I work, and I help out during Graduation every year.  If I’m working, I probably will be able to keep the waterworks at bay right?  I underestimated the power of music.  And not just any music.  One song in particular.  “Pomp and Circumstance.” 

By the time I had to press play on “Pomp and Circumstance” I realized how much I truly hate that song.  Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful song.  But think of all the times in your life you hear it, it always signals the end of something; the end of Kindergarten, high school, college, an era.  I can’t hear that song without thinking of my own trek down the aisle for my Bachelors.  I never thought I would walk at my own college graduation, and I did so six months after my father passed.  A week before he went into his sharp decline and his body began to shut down I finished all of my course work and ran to tell him.  It was something he had always wanted for me.  And I can’t hear that song without thinking of him.  When I was in Kindergarten, he was in college, and although we didn’t attend his Graduation, “Pomp and Circumstance” reminds me of him.  I witnessed his numerous hours studying, and the enormous books he had, and his refusal to throw them away even twenty years after graduating from New England Tech.  Something my mother, who never did value an education, could never understand.  But it was something my Dad and I just got.  He would keep those books next to our Commodore 64 in the basement, which doubled as a playroom.  When he was at work, I remember running my hands over the pages.  I was amazed at how large those books were, I assumed there was no one smarter than my Dad since he could read those books.  Even thinking about it now I realize he was the sole adult in my life I would witness reading anything substantial.  My mother would only be concerned in magazines that promised to make your house attractive, nothing that would really matter in life.  But these books of my Dad’s with their weird drawings, which I now realize were math equations, were something.  I would take the corner of the books when no one was around, and flip the pages to hear the slapping of each sheet against one another enjoying not only the sound they made, but how they felt against my thumb.  Thankfully it is near impossible to dissect memories of my father apart from “Pomp and Circumstance.”  I love that I am reminded in his passion for education with a common song. 

As I watched my son up on the stage, paying attention to the ceremony, walking up to receive his diploma, I was instantly in the hospital room at Women and Infants having my husband teach me how to diaper a baby and wondering if I could even do this.  And I am not referring to just the diapering, (although that was a huge concern) but being a parent at all.  Did I love him enough?  Could I love him enough?  Will he love me?  What if I dropped him, or didn’t feed him enough, or couldn’t get him to sleep?  Could I relate to this little amazing being that was now my responsibility?  And why don’t these little guys come with manuals?  Fast forward six years and I can’t imagine my life without that amazingly funny, smart, kind, goofy kid!  My fears of motherhood, which now seem so unfounded, can come flooding back to me with just one look.  I remember lying in the hospital bed, holding him until the crook of my arm ached, looking at every single spot of his face.  His little nose, to the eyes that seemed to never rest, to two perfectly sculpted lips, as if they were made for a baby doll.  And with one look, watching him on stage “like a big kid” I am back in that room, surrounded by my fear and the love the three of us have for one another.

Reflection is a funny thing, and can sneak up on us at any time.  A simple Kindergarten graduation can propel me back six years to a time of extreme importance in my life to thirty years, to things that seem insignificant on the surface.

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