This weekend was a significantly ageing sort of experience.
In a good way, mind you; it wasn’t like the 30 years of gravity that immediately gallumphed about my head and shoulders when I realized that there are people willing to ruin a much-beloved grandfather’s memorial for the sake of being righteous and imperious. This was, instead, more like the heartbreak that happens when your baby takes his first woozy, velociraptor-stance steps, or when you watch that school bus roll away with your daughter inside it for the first time.
I watched my youngest sister graduate high school – this poor, tiny, small, weak, muscular-dystrophy-laden being whom we were told to expect would never walk or talk. This sweet, helpless infant that people treated as though her IQ probably resembles that of a mango, because how could someone possibly have an imperfect muscular structure and a keen, sharp brain at the same time?
Yeah, whatever. This is a kid who has kicked ass from the moment she started swinging those legs, and has caused great delight as we’ve watched her plow through one negative assumption after another. What’s that? I’ll never be able to walk? How’s about I go ahead and join the marching band, how’s that for not walking? Oh, right, I’ll never be able to succeed in school because the brain is just another muscle, weak and small and unreliable, right? Or, instead, I could just go ahead and graduate with honors, and continue with my plans to go away to school, to live in the dorms and function on my own. Got any more doubts and hesitations for me to brush aside before I find some better way of spending my time?
Decidedly a bittersweet and maudlin sort of experience for me, watching the ceremony. Mary has just always lived with such a serene, graceful dignity over this soul of hardcore determination, and at the same time she’s just a cool kid. Witty, and smart, and quick – someone I can actually, genuinely like, on top of the whole family-so-I-have-to-love-her kind of thing.
So, that added several years onto my weekend, to start. On top of that,we realized that Emily – my baby, barely 9 years old, practically an infant – will be the next person in our family to graduate high school. And that Willem is, since the death of Norman, now the oldest male in his direct family line; a patriarch at 33.
Scary, scary stuff, and proof that life does indeed keep rolling along, ready or not.