A Season of Lasts: Waxing Sentimental As High School Senior Heads Toward Graduation

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Her last spring concert.  There she stands, on the stepped up bleachers, facing the darkened auditorium, so many spring concerts behind her.  She is beautiful.  Radiant.  With the light of possibility streaming from her.  Standing in heels she could not have balanced in a few short years ago.  Her heart sings in tune with the other young women in her a cappella group. Sweet harmony among friends made through the sometime painful years of growing up.  We stare at Grace, our own hearts so full of love, and hope, and the melancholy acceptance of the passage of time.

This is her season of lasts.  The last gym class, the last day of high school, the last AP test, the last spring concert.  The seniors are excited.  They all know where they are going in the fall, and their only thought now is to celebrate their friendships, and the accomplishments of their high school careers.  They are focused on being together, creating those final memories of this time of growth and learning, in the classroom and out, knowing that everything is about to change.  They are excited, but they are also a little nervous.  At least Grace is.

College has been the destination regarded for so many years.  The thought of it has been so huge that the reality of it is overwhelming.  Grace is a sentimental child.  She wears her heart on her sleeve, and we know that she is afraid of being homesick when she leaves.  But she is ready.  She stands on stage, singing:

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

The juniors pay tribute to the seniors, and the seniors are crying.  They have a shared history that will be hard to untangle, and while they have watched others go before them, they are not sure how to do it themselves.  It is all new.  They have secrets together.  Relationships that we are not a part of.  And they are family for each other in ways that we are not meant to understand.  Saying goodbye to her friends, going through this season of lasts, leaving her home – it is powerful stuff.  The real business of growing up.

It’s true.  It is Grace’s seasons of lasts.  But in my own mind, I cannot help but see that it is our season of lasts together.  Our child will leave soon.  Of course we want her to go, and to be healthy, happy.  But there is a mirror between us – her joy, her sadness, her nostalgia for all of these final events reflected in our own joy and sadness at her approaching independence.  She sees herself with the eyes of youth, not knowing what lies ahead.  And we see her with the eyes of love, knowing that whatever comes her way, she will never be alone.

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