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What is it about Pomp and Circumstance?

Graduation at my school happened last Friday evening.  I sat next to a cooler on the track, sweat dripping, and gauged sold water bottles to all the unprepared poor souls who didn’t bring any in with them. My Forensics kids scored with the unseasonably warm 90 degree weather as our water bottle sale was the last fundraising effort before we leave for nationals next week. We pretty much cleaned up and now have enough money to eat AND play!

Every year, graduation brings mixed emotions. I’m always sad to see some of my favorite students leave, but its also fun to watch them get ready to fly. But every year, that damn song gets me. As soon as the band begins to play it, I get goose bumps (even in the heat), and my eyes tear up. For my own graduations, that song represented the excitement of moving on, now as a parent it represents the other side of that same coin.

The entire time it played, I kept thinking that next year, my oldest baby will be donning a medieval outfit of his own and marching onto the football field to the traditional tune.

I am not ready, even a little bit, for that to happen. Graduation from preschool? That was fun. 8th Grade graduation was a sweet celebration that brought his first “date” for a dance. He was home by 8:30. High school graduation? There is no way that either me or he will be ready for him to move out! We have one year to finish teaching him . . . so much! How can we possibly prepare him? Um . . . we can’t.  That scares me. He’s just going to have to give it a go and learn like we all did.

I remember when we counted his age in weeks, and then months, and finally years. The countdown in the other direction has started. I used to have years before he was ready to leave home. We have now transitioned into months. He will be graduating in twelve months and leaving in fifteen. Soon enough, graduation will be a matter of weeks away.

I had not thought of any of that until the damn song started to play. I looked around at all the mothers who were there to see their children graduate. Some of them cried, some cheered, some barely held it together.  I’m a year away, and I was in the last group – not good.

My son is one of the most laid back people on the planet. I’m not. Clearly, its time for me to learn some of the lessons he tries to teach me. “Just chill mom,” he says to me fairly regularly. “It’s all good.”

I know it is. I know he’ll be just fine. I know “Pomp and Circumstance” is merely a song, but its also one I’m not sure I like very much anymore.

4 thoughts on “What is it about Pomp and Circumstance?

  1. Last Friday evening I, too, listened to Pomp and Circumstance as my youngest grandson marched into his high school graduation. Like yours, my eyes teared at just the sound of the music and, like yours, my mind traveled to the past and the future. Though the current state of our world frightens me, I see hope when I think of my children and grandchildren. Like your son, they are helping to make things good by contributing their ideas, ethics and hard work to the world’s causes. As a grandmother, I have to “chill” and believe that things will all be good.

    Thanks for sharing and good luck with National Forensics next week!

    • I know – there’s so much that runs through your mind with that one song. My son read my post tonight and he didn’t know the song. I pulled it up on Youtube at which point my husband instantly teared up! It’s funny how the emotions behind that song changes with age and life stages.

  2. The thought of sending our young off into the world is daunting. Have we as moms done everything we could to prepare them for real life? From what I know about you as a teacher and how you relate to your students, I can only assume that you have done the same things for your own kids. I guess you have a year to steel yourself for letting go. I have two until my first one is off on her own. Doesn’t it go fast?

    • It goes soooo fast! I remember when they were babies and there were some hours that seemed like they’d never end. I’d look at the clock and think OMG! Three more hours until Gary gets home – I’ll never make it. But now, looking back over the last 17 years, it’s flown by. Time is a funny thing. I can only hope I’ve done a good job. This year (my son’s junior year) has been a challenging one, but I think its two steps forward and one step back and not one step forward two steps back. It’s forward progress!

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