Leap Years

Tonight my son graduated from 8th Grade. Now I know 8th grade graduation doesn't really have a formality to it, but it's still kind of a cool thing. As much as anything, it is really a rite of passage for kids. I guess in the paleolithic days they would send a boy out into the wilderness for 2 days, or make them tough it out in a sweat lodge for 12 hours to make them a man.

We have 8th grade graduation.

I'm not belittling it, I'm just saying that for me personally, I can point to a couple of things that scream "growing up" for Ben. The first was a few weeks back when we were trout fishing with his cousins. There was a picture taken of him and his cousins in their waders. (See Post). He just looked grown up. He wasn't Benjamin, he was BenTheMan. It hit me hard to see the picture of him and his cousins standing tall, handsome and grown up.

The other was tonight's graduation. Watching him among his peers, also all grown up, acting mature (most of the time) and talking in that deep voice that continues to shake me every time I hear it.

Dude, who stole my son?

I remember my 8th grade ceremony pretty well. It was at St. Luke's and was held in the convent chapel, a place no one much got to go. We always went to the "big church", and the convent was where the nuns lived, so students didn't get to go there much. When we were putting together the program one of the sisters asked the students to submit suggestions for the cover of the program. I remembered a quote I heard so I submitted it. It went:

"I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday..."

As it turns out, they chose it for the cover. I guess you could say my first publishing was a plagiarism. It also happens that I missed the rest of the quote that goes:

"...and I love today."

Plagiarism aside, it really is a good/fitting quote for any young person making a transition in their life. For that matter, it's good advice for old people as well. If we can't bear tomorrow, all we need to do is look back. There's probably been worse things that have happened than will happen tomorrow and you lived to tell about it. So, suck it up and move ahead.

A year from now I'll revisit these emotions again when my daughter graduates from High School. That one will really suck the life out of me, not only because she's growing up, but because she'll be going away to college. That can't possibly be happening, can it?

Dude, who stole my daughter?

Yet, it's all part of the parenting deal, evidently. That doesn't mean I have to like it, (I don't). I always turn to the words from Khalil Gibran when I get wispy about my kids growing up or heading into unknown territory.  He puts it in great perspective in his poem On Children. 

Blogging off...

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.


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