Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Bitter and the Sweet


We knew these days would come.  I am pretty sure we had all thought about it before.  We had likely all separately contemplated about how we would handle those days that are supposed to be so happy and such watershed moments in the history of a family: weddings, births, and graduations, among other lesser but happy moments.  As a parent, you hope you'll rise to the occasion.  You hope that you'll concentrate on the right things and not think about the wrong ones, and that you'll support your daughter (or son) to allow them to be happy for themselves only and not let in other distractions.  But you're not naive by now.  You know that there will be a big black hole in the room where others are supposed to be - maybe one above all others.

For us, we got some real life experience at it this past Monday.  I am not sure what grade someone else might give us for our performance, but in general, I think we got a C as a group.  As an individual, I give myself an F.  Hopefully Marissa will grade on a curve.  But, whatever she does, she'll be doing it with a BA in Communication.  My baby girl is a college graduate.  I am proud of her, but I don't think I could share the moment the way the moment - and Marissa - really deserved.

To be fair, there is a lot going on and a lot on my mind, but we all know as parents we always have a lot going on and have to be able to set that aside sometimes to support our children.  But, I've hardly got the strength left to be happy about anything, and I think that was apparent.  Nor did I have a lot of time to spare to plan a big day, which many parents across the city were doing.  Hardly fair to the one and only daughter I'll ever have to graduate college.

But the biggest sin was letting in all the others who weren't with us and letting them take over the day, because I think they did.  Maybe for all of us.  I thought about my mom, who in essence is the one who is responsible for getting all there.  Marissa did the work, but Mom's estate paid the bills.  Greg thought about his dad and how proud he would be.  We all thought about Kelsey.  All the time.   It's hard not to of course.  It always will be.  The balance has to be in allowing our love and memories of her enhance the occasion, not overwhelm it.  Kelsey loved her sister so much, she would have been the proudest one.  She would have yelled the loudest as she took the steps up to the stage a student and walked down the other side a graduate.  She would understand in a way that no one else really can what it took for Marissa to overcome everything she has to make that journey, so I sincerely think she would not have liked us moping at her absence.  She would have been royally pissed that we took our eyes off the real ball:  how proud we are of Marissa.  Some would tell us that she was there in spirit.  I will accept that is true as long as we hold her in our hearts.  But we can't let her be so large in our hearts that she breaks them because then we're not present for the other people we hold dear.  I'm not sure I can tell you I had that clearly and appropriately in mind.

All I can you now is that I am indeed proud of Marissa, and she deserves all the happiness and success there is.  Kelsey would tell you that too.  We didn't always agree on much.  We would definitely agree on this.

And Now

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