Friday, May 27, 2011
I didn't cry last year at Colin's graduation because it was just nice and I just sat back and enjoyed the occasion--the choir, the band, the speeches, the hugs. But this year, it was different--I understood what it meant for these kids to graduate, and in essence, leave us all behind. I didn't realize the permanence until that first band performance at a football game. There was the trumpet section....without Colin. It's then that I cried. Graduation had nothing on that first football game without my kid there.
Last night I sat with my band buddy, Sue, who was eye-dripping as much as I was. It was Mr. P, standing at the foot of the stage, hugging each band kid as they graduated that did me in. Typically not an emotional man, Mr. P giving those kids a sincere hug and a congratulations kills me for some reason. It is four years of spending so much time together that comes to a conclusion at that moment--and he says goodbye and congratulations with one long hug.
And I'm fine through all the speeches, through all the music and caps and gowns and parents snapping pictures--it's just that hug, by Mr. P, that makes me cry. Even the beastly band kids--the ones who are pains in the behind, that do drugs and steal, and all kinds of horrible stuff--when they hug Mr. P, it's like, "Okay, it's all over" and "Good luck".
Me, I'm not so forgiving. I think Sue and I actually cheered when one particular idiot walked the stage and flipped his tassle. But there was Mr. P, handing out warm hugs and congratulations, regardless.
I guess it's a good message--one of good-bye, good luck, and forgiveness. I guess he's used to it after so many years of teaching. But me, I'm not so good at it and the crumpled Kleenex in my pocket shows my inexperience.
Apparently Mr. P is wise even beyond my comprehension as I watched those band kids, one by one, return to the band room to say good-bye to the stained carpet and musty smell, trumpet sections and mellophones, color-guard friends and loose-leaf sheets of music--and to Mr. P. As I collected the uniform necklaces, I watched as those graduates and their families return to the place they knew as "home" for so long--the band room.
How wonderful that it was, that after 4 years, that is where they wanted to be--the band room. The room that was witness to beginnings, endings, growth, failure, friendship, forgiveness, hellos, goodbyes, and most of all......acceptance.
It's a good way to be--at the beginning, the middle and the end--accepted. May every one of those graduated have that at least once in their lives.