I found myself getting misty-eyed this week as I sat in a middle school gymnasium listening to an off-key rendition of “On Broadway” and watching a squad of twelve year olds do flip-flips.
Guess that makes me a mom. We were at middle school orientation, and as I perched on the wooden bleachers and glanced around, I could pick out the different sorts of parents. The ones looking at their watches and texting on their phones were second-timers, or maybe even third. But the ones sitting there wide-eyed or teary-eyed were parents like me–people just now coming to the realization, They’re growing up! When did this happen?
It honestly seems to me like not so long ago that I was sitting in a high school gym, as a student and not a parent, feeling so very full of myself because I was a senior–finally!–and it was my year to rule the school.
So it’s graduation season. Do you know a kid reaching an important milestone this year? I know several. It’s a wonderful, magical transition time when parents get sentimental and kids get full of excitement about the possibilities ahead.
I grew up in a tight-knit community where lots of my parents’ friends gave me gifts for graduation. One of the gifts I received was the book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. I remember being a bit puzzled at the time, and politely saying thank you, but not really even reading the book. I came across it years later and flipped through.
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
If you haven’t read this little book, it’s very charming. And of course, the protagonist does go down some not-so-good streets, and encounters some very dark places, and has Bang-ups and Hang-ups, and ends up alone… but in the end he picks himself up and dusts himself off and goes on to great places.
When I actually read the book for the first time, I was in my twenties. I was in a bit of a slump, and I was surprised how much the words of Dr. Seuss made sense. Today, as a parent, I continue to marvel at his kiddie books that are brimming with wisdom.
If you are a parent in the midst of one of these transitions, best of luck to you and the young person you love who is setting out on a journey. I hope you and your family will enjoy this special time and soak everything up. And in the words of Dr. Seuss:
Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!
In other news, I’m excited to announce that since I last blogged here, my new book TWISTED hit the USA Today Bestseller List. Yay! Anyone who leaves a comment today will be entered to win a signed copy of the book.
Have a great weekend!