Another milestone

Sydney's graduation is another milestone passed.  I'd love to show you pictures.  But, I messed up and we don't have any.  Rob and I both took video.  I think the school took some stills.  And, maybe Syd will be able to get those.  Or maybe not.  She doesn't know. 

Austin does it's graduations at a huge coliseum.  They do class after class.  They shuttle people in from parking lots near schools into downtown, then shuttle them back to their cars.  I guess it's efficient.  It was kind of inconvenient and meant we got to sit through a quarter of the previous schools commencement.  If you think graduation is boring, go to one for another school!  The shuttle to the coliseum was an air conditioned charter bus.  Coming back, it was a yellow school bus with all the windows down.  I'm pretty sure the charter bus was a trick to keep people from abandoning the shuttles and trying to park downtown. 

The whole thing feels kind of anti-climactic.  Kind of like I remember my graduation being.  More of a foregone conclusion than a big deal.  Sydney sang a solo; the choir sang True Colors and four seniors had solos in the first verse.  Syd was one.  I cried.  Then, there were speeches.  Then, there were the names.  Sydney has an unusual last name that constantly gets messed up.  She declared that if they mispronounced it, she was going to refuse the diploma.  Thank goodness, they got it right.  But, there was a pause before he said her last name and you could tell he was studying it.  She said one of the other teachers on the platform said it in his ear.  Then it was over and I wandered through chaos, trying to find her, but was not able.  Just as I gave up, she borrowed someone's phone and called me and we met up, and made it back to the bus in time to ride with Rob and his Mom.

Here we are at graduation dinner.  That's Rob's Mom in the back. 
I watched other families celebrate graduation.  It was like watching a party that I hadn't been invited to.  When we asked questions or tried to make plans, all we got was "I don't know" and attitude.  At one point, I felt lucky that I was getting invited to go at all.  Unfortunately, that's how so many things have been the last nine years.  I've come to accept Syd's need to control us by doing this.  And, I've gotten pretty good at dealing with it.  But, it drives Rob up the wall. 
Because we couldn't make any plans with her, because she didn't know anything about what was going to happen and wouldn't ask, we were left to make plans for ourselves.  That meant we didn't meet Syd's unexpressed expectations of her graduation, so she was disappointed.  And, she didn't know how to express that, so she aimed it at us.  But, I recognized what it was.  She has no friends.  There was no party.  She was looking around and seeing the party going on around her and she wasn't feeling invited either.  And, I felt sorry for her. 
She worked all weekend, so Rob and I did things with Gramma.  
And, today, I go back to work and leave the three of them with the day to enjoy.   
Life is such a funny thing.  Repetition.  I see myself in Sydney.  She wasn't with us for the first 9 years, and there's a whole lot going on there that I'm not responsible for.  But, there's a whole lot there that is just like what I went through.  I didn't have big graduation plans and I didn't feel like I was part of what was going on and I didn't have friends either.  And, for many of the same reasons.  And, even with all that, there was nothing I could do to keep the same thing from happening to Syd.  She and I are messed up in similar ways.  And, I think it took somebody that understood that to be able to parent her through it.  I tried to affect it.  But, I couldn't.  All I could do was show her that things can change.  If you want them to.  And, I showed her that by changing, while she watched.  I'm not perfect.  But, I'm a better version of myself now than I was when she got here.  And, she got to observe that.  That really is the most valuable thing I can possibly hope to pass on to her. 
Families come in all shapes and sizes.  And, so do their celebrations.  Ours may not have been exactly like some of the others.  But, our celebration was us, doing it like we do.  And, that's the memories we get to take with us.  And, we can be disappointed.  Or, we can accept that this is how our family does things.  I'm feeling pretty accepting.  I think maybe it wasn't so anti-climactic after all.  And, maybe all I needed to do was write it down and share it with you to be able to see that.
Everybody have a great Monday!  Lane


Laura said...

My brother and his partner adopted a seven year old girl who had been neglected in a previous 'home'. She is 9 now and has trouble making friends. I am not use they adopted her early enough to erase all the damage of those first 7 years, but she is certainly better off now than she would have been.

I think going away to college and living in a dorm can sometimes help since most of the kids are living away from home for the first time and don't have well-established friends there. Making one good friend can be life-changing!

Best of luck to your daughter!

The Joyful Quilter said...

DS2's graduation is later this week. It will be interesting to see what transpires during the "after-grad." He has a small group of friends, but tends to miss the planning details.
Best of luck with Syd's future plans!

lw said...

Congratulations to you all for Sydney's graduation!

You make a really good point, kids learn a lot more by watching you than anything you can tell them.

jane said...

I feel for Sydney. I graduated with a class of kids that I had only known for about a month. Didn't even know most of their names. I was a military brat and we moved around like crazy. I, too, am not good at making friends. Again probably from my childhood. But you can be happy in life without that skill. At least she has a family and that's what counts.

Gisela Suski said...

I went through graduation last weekend & my granddaughter doesn't have friends either. Kids are so mean today and luckily my GD did not want to follow what other kids to and get into trouble. Choir was a great place for my GD. Be thankful Syd is working - we are going through this stage - my GD is shy & scared to do an interview. Thank you for sharing and you have a wonderful family.

Rebecca Grace said...

Congratulations to Sydney. How cool that she got to sing a solo at graduation! So many of life's milestones can get so built-up in our expectations that when the big day comes, it's a let-down. My graduation was that way, too -- I relate to everything you said about "the party going on around you." Then as I read through comments from others who also identified with that, I wondered how many of us were feeling left out at our own graduations, all of us feeling like we were the only ones?

Also, we have no pictures of my college graduation, either. My mom was snapping away with her camera all day, but forgot to put in FILM! Now, remembering that cameras used to need film is making me feel old all of a sudden...

Congratulations to all of you.