Seventeen years ago, I stood in front of my high school graduating class and gave a speech about my little sister, and how we all should look at the world with her one-and-a-half year old's sense of wonder.
This weekend, my one-and-a-half year old daughter and I watched that no-longer-baby sister graduate from the same high school.
And seventeen years from now, the two of us will stand together to watch my baby daughter graduate, too.
And on that date many years in the future, Sweet Sister, it is your job to bring me a handkerchief. No, no--I don't care if you have a demanding career or a passel of babies to pack for, you must be there, hankie in hand.
Because, as with this weekend, I'll be thinking to myself, "I don't need one. I'm not going to cry," and then the tears will spring up from nowhere and all of a sudden I'll be trapped in a packed-full high school gym trying to save my mascara with no supplies. And I can't go to my daughter's graduation party looking like that. The mascara will settle into my crow's feet--which will only have gotten deeper--and, well, it just can't happen.
Save the date, dear.
For serious, though, seventeen years.
I can't say, "Where did the time go?" I know exactly where it went--to two degrees and two babies, to my dream job and my dream marriage--but there's still something so very wistful about this neon-bright marker that, while I've been chasing down my life, time has, indeed, passed. The little girl who started kindergarten the same week I started law school didn't wait for me; she went and grew up and is now chasing down her own life. Like you do.
I'm proud of you, Butterbean. For graduating, of course, but mostly for who you are and who you're becoming. And, while I hope it all doesn't go too quick, I can't wait to meet the woman who's going to going to squeeze my hand--and maybe even need a handkerchief herself--seventeen years from now as we watch Little Miss walk across that stage.
Better bring two, just in cases.