The auditorium filledwith bodies, with their movement and heat and noise.
Pomp and Circumstance played from a boom box up on the stage, and the children marched down the aisle in pairs of two, holding hands with one another.
Tears streamed down my face. I was seized with a desperation to stop time, to memorize every detail, to capture every sound, smell, sensation.
If I had let go, I could have started sobbing. My heart would have crumbled like a lump of dry clay into a million dusty little bits. Every loss I ever endured would have surrounded me, would have pulverized those dusty little bits of my heart into the ground.
I didn’t let go.
I sucked it up and told myself today is today. It is just another day, no more special or significant than any other. I took a deep breath and relaxed into the moment.
Now is now, I told myself, and it is best to just be here. There will never be another now. There will just be other moments, no more special or significant than this one. Birthdays, work days, vacation days, sick days, dog days, salad days, holy days.
No, my son will never again graduate from kindergarten. But in the grand scheme of things, that is insignificant.
All moments are sacred and priceless. We forget this fact until something happens to make us want to stop time.
Emily was tired and fussy, so I stood with her to the side of the auditorium. I swayed with her to the music, patted her bum, kissed her fuzzy head.
The kindergarten classes did a play called “The Little Seed.” It was about a resilient little seed who grew into a flower. It made me think of another time with Jack, before I had Emily.
We were driving in the car listening to a CD of pirate songs. Jack was three-going-on-four. It was a hot day. I was pregnant with Emily.
“Mama,” he asked. “Are pirates still alive today?”
Not wanting to get into a political discussion with my three-going-on-four-year-old, I answered, “No, honey.”
“When were they alive?” he persisted.
“In the olden times,” I answered.
“Where were we in the olden times?
“We weren’t born yet.”
“So then, whose tummies were we in?” He asked, perplexed. It took a minute for my pregnant brain to ponder the existential nature of this question.
“Well, honey, we weren’t even in tummies yet,” I answered. He took this in.
“Oooohhhhh,” he said, knowingly. “So then we were just seeds.”
Much like a dandelion seed, he blew me away with this comment. I instantly agreed with him.
This conversation with my little boy, in a car in rush hour traffic on a hot summer day, is one of the highlights of my life.
Today, I flashed back to this conversation, then came back to the moment to watch my little seed shake hands with his stern principal and take his diploma.
Daily, I fight urges to travel back and visit previous moments. For example, I wish I could hear that voice of my three-going-on-four-year-old chirping about pirates and seeds. And I know some day I will want to watch my proud and bashful five-going-on-six-year-old at his kindergarten graduation, making that little sucked in cheek face because he is excited and embarrassed. It is like memories are not enough.
It is said that living in the past causes depression, and living in the future causes anxiety. True words. I find it difficult to balance being in the moment and enjoying the memories that have made my life what it is.
I’ve felt fragile and anxious all day. Unsettled and sad. I feel like I missed out on something, or there was an opportunity I didn’t take. A seed I neglected to plant.
Maybe all that matters is that now is now, and I am here, home with the people I love. And it is a happy day, afterall, the day that my son graduated kindergarten.
A day as special and signigficant and sacred as any other.