There is nothing like one of your children reaching yet another milestone to give one yet another unwanted swift kick in the rear end to notify you that yes you are indeed getting older. The boy child( though the truth is he is a man grown at this stage) whom you birthed in what seems like a blink of an eye ago is there at his school graduation mass and ceremony. Some of his fellow students are well known to you, you have had them on your life’s radar since senior infants ( Seeing them confirms that yes indeed your boy child is all grown up). Some of them you only have gotten to know at some point over the last six years. They have drifted in and out of your home like herds of butterflies looking for somewhere to land. Many remain completely unknown to you except you may get to briefly put a face to a name and get glimpses of school characters who are the mainstay of the daily dinnertime gossip.
Like myself, many parents seem bemused to have arrived at this point, which is I know a bit ridiculous. I have spent the last eighteen years and in particular the last six, feeding, driving, cajoling, threatening, laughing, encouraging, giving out to and loving this man child of mine. We act at the graduation evening, as if we’re Bobby Ewing awakening from that completely unbelievable dream sequence for those of you old enough to remember Dallas. I find myself making the most banal utterances just stopping short of voicing my disbelief that my son now shaves(which really I have been aware of for quite some time given the amount of sink cleaning I do). To paraphrase the words of the student speaker we have seen them transform “from scrawny eleven year olds to spotty teenagers,to the young adults they are today..the ones who still cannot follow a one-way system”, the ones that are now far too old to be forced into this uniform in the hope that it will somehow improve their grades’. I sit and imbue the life force that emanates from these 106 students as they get ready to embark on the next chapter of their lives. The one that starts after the dratted & dreaded Leaving Certificate.( I am going to resist documenting the sometimes psychotic road that parental preparation for the Leaving Certificate has brought me on but I have taken notes for your amusement at some later date, post event. Let me say, never once did I utter the immortal words “ Ah take a break love, you have done enough study“. )
So we celebrate this group of student’s passage through secondary school. They and we mentally reminisce about the joys and dramas experienced along the way, the friendships that came and went, the mobile phones confiscated, the abandoned weeks old lunches in the bottom of bags, the notes in the homework diaries and the learning done. There is already a palatable softening in the teacher/pupil relationship. Boundaries shifting and battle lines withdrawn. I’m sure that it is with a not uncertain amount of relief (but perhaps glee) that they the teachers divest themselves of their locus parentis duties and they hand them back to us, a somewhat shellshocked group of parents. There is a noticeable atmosphere of ebullience amongst the teaching staff. However, for this night, and even if it is only for this night alone we embrace their own chosen end of year theme “A Brand New Day”. I absorb the hope, the joy, the excitement, the optimism and the giddiness. I marvel at the fresh faces, the amount of talent in evidence and the camaraderie. With my rose tinted spectacles firmly in place, I hope that the world will treat them kindly. I smuggle my tears into a handkerchief. With the lyrics of “How far will I go ” from Moana and Coldplay’s “The Scientist” revolving around in my mental soundtrack of the evening I accept with a huge degree of pride & love, the accolades that accompanied the hearing of my Man- Childs student address to us all. Indeed for the night that is in it I unashamedly bask in his reflected glory. I wish them all well, all the lovely people about to sit the Leaving Certificate, (some of my favourite people are Leaving Cert students, candles will be lit and Grannies will be put on self appointed prayer duties) I hope ye haven’t quite yet managed to dream all life’s dreams for yourselves. Each day is indeed a brand new day and success has many faces. I’m plagiarising from Ruairi’s speech for my blog ending as I practice what I preach -‘ trying not to re-invent the wheel’.
” Do not be intimidated by the future, never forget the memories-
Proceed as if success is inevitable for you are ..The Class of 2017″