The first-day-of-school picture is a staple of American families. Here is little Billy or Susie, dwarfed by their backpacks, heading out the door. I've done that at least a dozen times so far, more if you count kindergarten and preschool. Today, for my oldest daughter, I'll snap the inevitable conclusion: the last-day-of-school photo.
Graduating from high school may not be a big deal for some people. It's what you're meant to do, after all. And most people in this area, I'd surmise, are from families long removed from the days where being "the first person in my family to graduate from high school/go to college" was applicable.
But it's still a cause for celebration and a moment for reflection. My daughter Gwyneth will cross the stage this morning and my head will fill with thoughts of her as a 5-year-old, a 10-year-old, a 12-year-old.
A lot of life is spent putting in the hours. That's the unexciting truth of things. Kids graduating from high school this week have learned they can do that. Thirteen years most of them have been in school. Some didn't miss a single day.
Donning that gown today, flipping that tassel, signifies a move into adulthood. For many students, it means a move away from parents. I'll be sad about that, but I'm also proud. More than anything, I'm confounded by time, how tricky it is. Why, it seems like only yesterday that Gwyn was teetering under that backpack and sneaking a last look back at me as the bus doors closed behind her.
June 8, 2009; 9:11 AM ET
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