Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tears in ... a Gymnasium?

I am a crier. I cry when I'm happy, I cry when I'm sad, I cry when I'm angry, I cry sometimes for no reason at all.

Ergo, it should come as no surprise that I cried like a baby at today's graduation, when my school's Class of 2011 flipped their tassels and became school alumni and students no longer.

While I was wiping away the tears for a group of kids that I know pretty well (it's a small school, so everyone knows everybody else ... but I've never been their teacher), it occurred to me what a mess I'm going to be this time next year. Why? Well, there are two reasons ...

First, and most importantly, Addie will be graduating. Fortunately (well, fortunately for her), her school is large, so the commencement is held in a large stadium at UNH. Addie will not be witness to me bawling like a baby as she passes what might be the last childhood rite of passage.

Members of the Class of 2012 at my school will not be so lucky.

I have been co-Advisor of these kids for two years now, and I taught them all Freshman English the one year I wasn't formally their Advisor. They are an incredible group of kiddos, and because of the nature of my school (I can't really express how small it is, and consequently how tight-knit), they are almost like surrogate children to many of us.

Addie's concert band played "Pomp and Circumstance" at her school's graduation last week, and she came home rolling her eyes at how people were crying (she may have given me a warning look at this moment in time ;-)). "Isn't it supposed to be a happy time?" my practical child asked. "Why cry?"

I tried to explain the whole rite of passage, the leaving childhood goodbye, last time a group that's been united for a long time thing, but she didn't get it.

One of her good friends graduated that night, and I tried to point out that watching Bob graduate must have been at least a little sad for her.

Nope.

For Addie, playing in her last school band concert with Bob was far more upsetting to her. She explained that picturing a band event without Bob was tear-inducing ... going through a school day without him, not so much.

So while I appreciate Addie's practicality, her ability to put things into a perspective that belies her age, I have personally cried at every single graduation I've attended ... and I can't seem to articulate why.

Do you cry at graduations, weddings, concerts, military ceremonies, and any sort of other formal event like that?

If so, why? If not ... why?

Oh, and congrats again to the Class of 2011 :-)