I worry about myself sometimes because I’m not the least bit sentimental. I’m talking zero teary eyes about life’s big parenting events like a child graduating. Emphasis here on high school commencements because if you require a box of Kleenex for eighth graduation in the middle school, not very well ventilated gym, as younger siblings play “how much noise can we make belaying the bleachers” that in my opinion haven’t seen a good Clorox spritz in years, then I’m thinking you’re boo-hooing about more things than your “baby” going into the ninth grade.
I didn’t even cry in that classic college farewell moment when you move your kid into the dorm and say good-bye. What’s wrong with me? I’m a mother shouldn’t I have been more weepy? In my defense the high school graduation experience is so drawn out from the various award ceremonies, banquets, tribute tours and on and on, that by the time the big day arrives I think most parents are sighing, “finally.”
For instance, last month I was sitting next to an elderly gentleman at a dance team’s spring show and the video tribute for the four graduating seniors was pretty intense to the point of eye rolling. I mean, come on, these girls aren’t going off to war in the Middle East with a 70/30 chance we’ll never see them again. They’re headed to college, most of them down the road 40 miles, for goodness sakes. As I was feeling kind of bad for thinking just that, the sweet man next to me asks me, “Are they dying? Is that why we’re watching this?”
I gave him a wink and whispered, “I know, it’s a lot.”
And he came back with, “Soldiers fighting the Nazi’s didn’t get this much attention.”
Right then and there I felt two things. One, I was immediately madly in love with this pillar of common sense and two seriously can we put the high school graduation in perspective? I think we’re creating gradzillas. 18-year-olds who completed the very least expected of them by their parents and community and are now the subject of tribute documentaries. I consider of all this like the minor league or training camp for bridezillas. We all wonder (or maybe just me) where the whole out-of-control bride came from. I’m thinking perhaps they’re the by-product of a 30-minute high school graduation tribute video.
As for not having one tiny tear when I dropped my son off to college. Well, that was totally not my fault. I couldn’t focus on the whole seasons of life, passage of time, milestone thing because it was like 108 degrees in the shade with a humidity index of “Your Clinical Strength Deodorant Is Waving the White Flag of Surrender.” Add in lugging boxes, suitcases, bags stuffed with bedding from Target and more crap, I’m fairly certain he never used, from Bed, Bath and Beyond into an obviously un-air-conditioned dorm room that was exactly the size of the bathroom at an Ann Taylor Loft (oh yeah, I stepped it off) and you have a picture of me not wanting to linger over a long goodbye, but instead bolting to get to my car and jack up the A/C to turbo cool.
I did, from the climate control comfort of my vehicle, call the front desk of the dorm and inquire about the temperature of the dorm where I received the standard reply of “sorry the university controls the thermostat of the buildings.” Humpfh! Still working the phone for the good of my son, I looked online about how big prison cells are and found out that the size of my son’s dorm room came this close to violating the Geneva Convention for humane prisoner treatment!
Future parents of college students beware of the dorm room bait and switch. On the campus tour you will get shown a room that is huge. So huge, you will think to yourself, “Wow, dorms sure have improved since my days as a co-ed.” That room is a mirage. You will never see that room again. What you will see is a room with bunk beds featuring an upper bunk that is so close to the ceiling your child is probably getting an asbestos breathing treatment.
I texted my son all this while still sitting in the parking lot and he replied, “Mom, it’s probably okay if you leave now.” So I did, but not before vowing to continue my crusade for better campus A/C and sending my son tips from the Internet of how to deal with the psychological trauma of existing in a confined space for any length of time.
Perhaps, I’m saving all my tears for when the last chick leaves the nest. That’s when I’ll probably do the ugly cry. I recently shared that with an older neighbor and she laughed telling me to save the ugly cry for when they move back home at 26, divorced, and with two kids under two in tow. Yikes, now that would make me boo-hoo.