In some ways the feeling is the same. In some ways it is not. Time felt a lot more uncertain four years ago. I'd been divorced only one year. That coming fall my daughter, Grace, was beginning middle school. I was journeying through perimenopause and she was tiptoeing into puberty. Four years on the other side, I'm divorced five years now. Coming out on the other side of "The Change" and she's smack dab in the throes of adolescence and about to graduate middle school.
Going to middle school, leaving the sanctuary of the elementary school that had cradled us for six years, was a big deal. Thanks to our behaviorist, we prepared for this day like mad. Actually, I began preparing when Grace was diagnosed with autism. Never one to miss an opportunity to hear an "expert," I attended any seminar on any stage of autism, from the get-go, because I figured I'd be there sooner or later. And, the more I armed myself with the ammunition of information, the better prepared I'd be. Proved true. In February of that last year of elementary, we began taking Grace by her new school weekly, either a drive by (to say hello, not shoot,) to visit the school and learn the route to her special education teacher's room. When time came, we were ready. The commonly much feared transition was smooth.
So, today, as my daughter graduates, I'm not feeling anxiety about her approaching high school years. We followed the same plan of bi-weekly visitation. We made it from elementary to middle and I know with serenity in my heart, that we will merge into high school. Many emotional storms have been ridden out in the last four years and they've taught me that in the end it will always be okay. IGBOK.
What feels the same is the sense of wistfulness and gratitude to be saying goodbye to another school that's nurtured us through the years. My baby turns 15 next month and today she graduates from the eighth grade. I'm a little sad. I ache a smidge with a tiny sense of loss. I'm proud. I'm happy. And, I'm hopeful.
Bittersweet is the movement of life from one stage to another. And on it goes. And, again, I am grateful.