My blog has moved!

You will be automatically redirected to the new address. If that does not occur, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

In The First Person

Happy Sunday, Wavers everywhere. Today for your reading pleasure, we have a first-person essay by Rouge Waver Steven Axelrod. Read and enjoy but let us not forget to VOTE for your favorite one page scene as the voting continues.


My son Nick graduated from high school today, and I was stunned by the ambush of emotions. They came at me from too many directions at once. I grasped just bits and pieces of it at first: the tug of suspense when Nick as crossed the stage to pick up his diploma … as if something might happen to screw it up, as if the diploma itself might be blank. I know other people felt the same way: I made the joke with a few of the parents I knew, and saw the nervous smile of recognition on their faces. Then came the relief. It was over, we did it, he made it.

Later, I said to my Mom, “No one else knows what this feels like.” And she said, “What about me? I’ve been through it, too.” Then she said: “For twenty years you’ve been putting yourself last; now you can finally put yourself first. You can finally do what you want. But what is that?” And I had no idea. But I feel like some huge changes could begin now; as if I had graduated, not Nick.

But even that isn’t all. Nick’s graduation unplugs me from a whole community that I didn’t even know I cared about. I knew these kids, and through them their parents and through those families the real life of the island I lived on and the town that had somehow, almost against my will, become my home. Now that living connection is gone, too. The next bunch of kids will be strangers to me; the next crazy teacher won’t be my problem. So this rite of passage isolates me. It makes me feel my age. I finished my fiftieth year, my first real novel and my children’s high school careers all in the same week. That’s a lot of endings.

It was disorienting: the secret core of my identity had become a technicality. Of course I’m still a parent and always will be. But my job is complete. This is the moment we were striving for. And I’m happy about it, just like I’m supposed to be. Still, the sadness under that triumph is all around me. I feel displaced, like an executive forced into early retirement, but given a seat on the Board. My status may be the same, but my daily life will be permanently diminished.

My brother Peter came to Nantucket for the graduation, and he walked into the house with a bag of groceries a few minutes ago. Mom stood up as he came in and I asked her, “Why did you get up?” She said, “I thought Peter needed help.” He just looked at her with a patient baffled smile (he has no children). He said, “I’m fine Mom,” and started unpacking the food. She sat down again, and I said, “I guess that’s a look I’m going to have to start getting used to.”

She nodded a little sadly. “Yes,” she said. “But you never will.”

If you enjoyed this post, follow me on Twitter or subscribe via RSS.

No comments: