Sunday, June 13, 2010


My son reached one of life's milestones yesterday. He's a high school graduate.

Isn't he handsome? Yeah, I'm a proud mama.

I remember walking him into Ms. Logan's Kindergarten class as vividly as if it was yesterday, but in fact, yesterday he walked across the stage and received his diploma. And in truth, the last 13 years have been fraught with struggle, so it's hard to believe they've flown by so fast.

I have always loved school. From Kindergarten through grad school, I loved stepping into a class for the first time, wondering what I was going to learn. It's really no surprise that I'm a teacher. I'm sure I love school so much because I have always been very good at playing the game, both academically and socially.

Kids who never quite figure out the rules to the game struggle academically or socially or both. Sometimes a kid knows the rules, but doesn't have the skill to play. For example, I know how football is played. I understand the rules. I can even wax lyrical on the finer points of the game, but if I tried to get out on the field and play, I'd get killed. I'm not equipped to succeed in that game.

My son has never liked school. He's plenty smart, but he's never been very good at playing the game. He can tell you how the game is played. He can wax lyrical on the finer points of the social minefield of the average American high school, but as a practical matter, he can't navigate it. He is an artist, and like many artists, turned inward.

I am grateful to the teachers he had along the way who saw my son and inspired him. I am grateful to my son for making me a better teacher. Every kid isn't like me, and getting an inside view of one who has wildly different ideas about school has been good perspective.

The last year has been an odyssey, a long journey characterized by many changes of fortune. There were days when I really didn't think we'd get here. I've been a coach, a drill sergeant, a counselor, and a priest. I've wept tears of despair and tears of joy. In the end, my son did what he had to do himself. I am more proud of him than I can say.

Happy Graduation, Son. I love you.

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