Today my 14-yr-old nephew graduated from his very prestigious, private middle school, and Russ and I were there. There were only 17 kids in his graduating class, so they each got to give a speech, most of which were fantastic and funny and heart-warming. His was lovely. He was poised and eloquent and funny (the trait everyone in my family finds most important), and as he was speaking I pictured him at 2-yrs-old, naked, dancing in the foyer of my brother’s house to the Blues Clues song. The same people were there then: His grandmas and grandpa, and my father who has since passed. I was there, Russ was there, and of course his parents. I will always remember how hard we were laughing, and clapping to him dancing. And that was 12 years ago.
So, of course today I thought of Garrett and how, in a flash, he’ll be in middle school and high school and college. I thought of all the things he’s showing an interest in now, and how he can play with a friend in the backyard for a good hour or so without coming in the house. I thought of how seriously he’s taking his karate and how much he wants to learn how to play guitar and soccer. And how each day he’s a little bit more his own person.
I also thought about how there’s a good chance he will not go to prestigious, private schools, partly because we might not be able to afford them, and partly because I’m just not sure that’s the route we’d choose to go. And I wonder if the “less” prestigious schools will be enough for him, and if I’ll just give up in a couple years and find the best private school there is, and do whatever it takes to get him in there. I thought about the choices we have to make for him before he can make his own, and how much I hope and yes, even pray, that we make the right ones.
I felt so proud watching my nephew. I tried to imagine what my sister-in-law was feeling, watching her baby boy all grown up. He’s chosen to go to boarding school for high school, half-way across the country. Just thinking of that made me weep today. In September he’ll be there and we’ll be here, and Garrett won’t get to see his cousin as much anymore. His cousin who he looks up to so much. His cousin who, just moments ago, was 2-years-old and dancing in the foyer, naked.