Today should be the day I stand by my oldest child with my heart swelled with pride. Watching as he carefully dons the mortar board and cocks it at a jaunty angle and gives me the grin I've been seeing my whole life. The grin that says, I know this isn't right but you know you can't help smiling with me. This should be the day I reach out and straighten the hat and help him carefully place the tassel. The tassel that will eventually hang from his rear view mirror in a rite of passage. This should be the day I jam my purse full of tissues and watch my baby - the baby whose first faltering steps I witnessed - make that trek across the stage and receive the diploma that signifies his transition from childhood to adulthood. This should be the day that I watch each year of his life flash by me with each step he takes toward that diploma, from the cute little baby to the gangly preteen to the man he is today. This is all what today should be about.
Instead, today is about dreams dashed and hopes dimmed. Today is instead the day I listen to my other coworkers talk about their children's graduations that occurred over the weekend. Today is the day I listen to their stories and realize that I won't have one to share. Today is about failure, shame, and embarrasment - his and mine.
Sean needs one - let me repeat that - ONE freaking credit for his diploma. Instead of buckling down and getting the work done, he's been putting it off. Oh, he'll get a diploma but he will never have that walk, dressed in a dark green cap and gown, to receive it. I'll never have the moment of my heart swelling with love and pride, watching him take that walk. I'll never get cheesy pictures with a diploma in one hand and a thumbs up with the other hand with his buddies.
I've spent the last few weeks trying to convince myself that its ok. That as long as he eventually receives that piece of paper, the ceremony doesn't matter. I was wrong. It does matter. I sit here typing this with a lump in my throat, knowing I've failed. I've failed because I let him fail. I kept telling myself that he is 18 and it has to be his responsibility to get the work done. However, reaching high school graduation is my last official job as a parent and I didn't make it happen so the failure is mine. Now, he has 3 assignments to finish and he'll receive his diploma without any fanfare, without any announcements, without any revelry, without any ceremony. And my heart aches.