When Oscar was born, one of the congratulatory cards we received shared with us–brand-new parents that we were–what exactly college expenses would look like in 2022 when our child graduates from high school. The card was supposed to be funny, of course; but given the startling dollar amount, it mostly inspired the need for an immediate Excedrin.
Since then we have given a lot of thought to financing the boys’ educations and have made the best plans we can. However, what I really haven’t spent a lot of time contemplating is their actual high school graduation days.
Until today . . .
This afternoon Middletown High School’s Class of 2011 graduated; and this morning Oscar asked me if he could accompany me. He was quite serious about it; and because there was no doubt in my mind that he could handle it, I agreed. He even wanted to come up on stage to help me hand one of my students her diploma. He seemed ready.
So, we lined up with the teachers, marched through the halls of the high school, and passed through the throngs. Then we took our seats. And over the course of the hour, as I listened to the speeches and looked to my right at the sweet soon-to-be seven-year-old boy by my side, it dawned on me that there will come a day–a spring day in June in 2022–when I will be sitting with the parents listening to the speakers as Oscar graduates from high school.
There were many words today that struck me in ways they otherwise have not and would not had Oscar not been by my side; and as often as I envisioned him sitting in his future cap and gown, imagining what his name would look like in the program, on his diploma, I mostly found myself grateful–for the fact that he was by my side, that he wanted to be there, and that we still have 11 years–not just to save the many dollars Hallmark anticipated we will need to help him on the next leg of his educational journey but to savor this childhood, to celebrate the young boy he is today–to live in the present.
Congratulations to the Class of 2011–and, thank you, Oscar, for being with me today and for being one of the wisest teachers I have ever had.