Jun 13 2012

Baby Steps and then Graduation and How My Kids Just Used My Uterus To Get Here.

I wasn’t happy heading to the graduation ceremony this morning. It had nothing to do with being sad that it was ending an era and meant my daughter was moving on. It was because I really don’t like these elaborate affairs and ceremonies. There are people at these deals. Lots of ’em!  In crowds I feel constrained and cramped and trapped.

My daughter assured me last night that it would be quicker than the convocation for her finishing her Bachelors degree in both English and History. She left so quickly this morning, I didn’t even have a chance to say good-bye and wish her luck.

I flashed back to the time she took her first baby steps. She didn’t struggle with it at all. She was walking at 9 months and running within weeks. My sons walked early too, about the same time. They just had the strength in their legs and the balance  to go from rolling on the floor to walking on their knees. I don’t remember them crawling. If they did, it certainly didn’t last long before they found a way to pull themselves upright.  My youngest took to climbing almost immediately and it was not unusual to hear him, at the age of 1, hoisting himself from his crib and  on to  floor. I would jump out of bed as I heard  the  pat pat pat on the floor and I would meet him at the stairs as he descended down head first using his hands and arms to take each step. I have no idea how we went from baby steps to graduation from University.

Still,  I lamented about the length of this event through my shower and on the drive to the auditorium. I kept reminding myself what  a selfish woman I was being. I should be excited and thrilled to stand proudly in the rows of seats.  I shouldn’t be complaining about the uncomfortable chairs and the maneuvering I will have to do through the crowds of strolling slow-moving people who are definitely not walking with a purpose.

My youngest son had declared that this ceremony was clearly a scheduling conflict with his own schooling, studies and his lunch plans. He’s only in grade 9. Most kids would love to get a free pass from school He remembered the convocation last year. He opted out of going, but reminded me he was free for the dinner we planned.

We entered the auditorium and given a program. It was thick and much heavier than her previous ceremony that we went to last year. My eyes opened wide.

What a Liar! I thought. I flipped the pages of the book in front of my husband. “She tricked us, I said”. It’s going to take hours to get through this.

My husband just shrugged his shoulders.

We made our way to our seats and the ceremony began.  The music started and a line of deans and alumni and dignitaries made their way down the aisle in a magnificent parade of intelligence.

I was getting impatient already.

“Alright! Alright. We get it! Your smart. Now get on with it” I mumbled.

My husband shushed me.

With my arms crossed in defiance we stood through the parade and then a short pause. They started the national anthem. I melted.

That songs gets me every time. I get tingles in my body and tears in my eyes every time I hear it and have to refrain  from singing too loudly. I sound a little like Lucille Ball when she would audition for one of Ricky’s musical shows.

I was happy that even though I have been feeling like I had been tinkering on the edge of cynicism as of late, in my heart patriotism still existed.

It softened me and I then enjoyed the next hour of newly graduated students crossing the stage to receive their diploma. The program we received was for the next few days of different faculties. I was instantly relieved seeing as our time slot was only 3 pages long. I relaxed into my seat.

Then it started to hit me. This is the end of an era. This is now the new  beginning of my daughters adult life. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! She is leaving.

The grads made their way into a reception area and the crowd rushed in the same direction. I scurried my way through, ahead of my family and made a bee line for the exit, calling back to my son to let his father know I was outta there.

I stopped for a moment to speak to friends that I have missed and the rest of my family caught up with me. The crowd was getting thicker and I could feel the pricking tension of it on my neck . It could have been someone’s hot breath, I do not know.  I didn’t stick around long enough to find out and again dashed toward the exit. I burst through the doors into the open air to relax in the sun.

My son found me first and was laughing as he approached. “What the hell is with you Ma, You just take off and then sit out here and wait for people to find you”

My son had come home for the event and I found myself often reaching out to grab hold of his arm and give him a hug. The two of them , my daugher and my son, stood side by side before me, smiling, adult.  I knew within the next days each one was heading off to their lives, one of them  hours away and the other a whole  province away.

I stood there smiling back at them and thought, “Those users!!! They had it planned all along. They used me for my uterus, got here, stayed just long enough to rattle my nerves and eat me out of house and home and then they have the nerve to smile at me, give me a kiss good bye and just leave.

 I’ve accused them of using me for my uterus before, each time they gave me a hard time or blew off a movie night with me in favour of going downtown to the bar with friends. I believe It is my parental right and duty to the history of parenting to throw a little mom guilt in here and there; Just enough to make them think twice about missing Christmas dinner or some other family event.

Here’s a few pics on how the morning went. It starts out well and quickly goes down hill.

This is the first pic. Right after the ceremony. We look respectable enough.




A respectable and well-behaved group shot.. Then just one with a proud Mom and Dad, notice how I am inching my way ever closer The three of us- just like 23 years ago. Except I am not holding a drool cloth on my shoulder.

This is when I started thinking about the fact that she would be leaving soon.

I begin to cling to her tighter and tighter.

It was supposed to be another traditional shot but I am really struggling with letting go

Now it starts getting dicey. See all the people in the background. This next photo shows you that I have absolutely no shame. It’s going down hill fast.

The roles have reversed. Now I am dropping to my knees begging her to stay.

This is how it ends. My daughter breaks free and I enlist the help of my son. The onlookers had no idea what was happening and my husband just backed up pretending he wasn’t with  us.

This is how the graduation ended.

I have to thank Layan Barakat for the photos. She’s a friend of my daughters and was sweet enough to join us for the ceremony and to take the pics. She’s heading out into her life too. She’s got her journalism. She’s a great writer and a delightful personality to be around. If anyone has a good job opportunity for her, let me know.  I’d love to see her do well.
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  1. Cindy

    This was such a delight to read ~ really let me laugh at my own problems of “letting go” of my two!
    Thanks so much for a light-hearted look at becoming an “empty nester” and all of it’s changes & especially for letting me feel better about throwing a bit of mom guilt around now and then :))

    1. Constance Stewart Meloche

      Thanks Cindy! It’s good to know there are other Moms out there who get what I am talking about. Thanks for commenting. It makes me feel better too.

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