English: Golden Retriever (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In August 1993, we sent our five-year old son to kindergarten at Christ the King School to learn and frolic under the guidance of a very young teacher named Amy. Tonight our youngest child is to leave Christ the King School for the very last time as a student of that institution. While it has been a long time by "average family" standards, there are certainly parents whose journeys are longer, and by no means is the length of time any indication that our particular journey has been any more or less fulfilling than any other parents who have seen their children through elementary school. As much as I hate the expression, it just is what it is.
I am certainly very happy for my daughter and her friends who are leaving what they undoubtedly feel is akin to a low security prison. I recall my own waning days of 8th grade at that very school. Man, it's time to go! Oh sure there will be sadness as they say goodbye this evening, but most of them don't know that from this point on, they will only see those of their classmates that they really want to. The rest will just vanish into the ether. Or actually in today's world, just be obscure friends on facebook.
But this isn't about her or her friends and classmates. This is about me. And as I contemplate it this morning, I am surprised my sentiments are so melancholy.
As my friends and acquaintances have approached me in the last year or so and congratulated me on "finally getting out of there," I have shared their enthusiasm. "Man, I just can't wait to leave." But this morning I ask myself, "Why?"
I will tell you something. It wasn't bad. In fact, it was a downright enjoyable experience. Granted there were bumps in the road. There always are, but I frankly can't imagine my life without it, for it has been such a large part of our routines for nearly two decades.
You know what this is like, for me, today? It's just like taking the trusty family dog to the vet for that final time. I bitch and moan about that dog day after day. The dog did this, and the dog did that. Overall, he is a truly great dog. But now he's severely arthritic, incontinent and who knows what else, and the time has come to say goodbye. It's better for him, and God knows, my life will be a helluva a lot easier when he's gone. But damn. I loved that dog.
Congrats, Erin and the CK Class of 2012. All the best.