“Love is like a butterfly. It goes where it pleases, and it pleases wherever it goes. Love is like a butterfly, hold it too tight, it’ll crush. Hold it too loose, it’ll fly.”
Whether you are the proud parent of a child, or not, I’m willing to bet that you, yourself, remember the feeling you felt the very last time you walked out of your high school door. That moment in time when the door clicked behind you…that instant when you became suddenly aware that a significant part of your life was over.
If you are anything like me, mixed in with the joy of your newfound freedom was something else, something you may not have felt before in that exact particular way. Most of us call that something else “fear.” Fear, I believe, of the unknown.
Strangely enough, that same sensation engulfs me every time my son “graduates” from one school to the next. This past week was no different. Wednesday was my son’s last day of elementary school. He’s moving on. He’ll never walk through the doors of the school we’ve loved for the past four years ever again, and…neither will I. This is, of course, a subtle reminder that I am aging, that he is aging, and that my role as his mother will, once again, change.
Of course, during these times, it’s necessary for me to keep my mind on the beauty of the process. This is my Julian, here, at his preschool graduation. I snapped this picture…then sighed…how is he old enough to graduate???
I remember that day well. It was more of a party, than a ceremony. Julian moved and danced and laughed throughout the whole thing, his messy curls and his big blue eyes searching for me everywhere through my camera lens. And then finally, it was his turn to receive his diploma.
Immediately, shyness took over, his walk hesitant and awkward when stepping onto the bridge he was required to walk over to graduate. But then he caught sight of me sitting in the crowd, and in finding me, he changed. Instantly, the bashfulness was gone, and my little boy stood up tall and bold, grinning proudly at me for yet another picture.
“I feel so weepy,” I remember whispering to my friend and her husband as Julian exited the graduation bridge. “In three months, our kids will be in kindergarten. Aren’t you two sad? Watching your son leave this place?”
“Sad?” the husband had said, scrunching up his eyebrows. “Why would you be sad? You wouldn’t feel sad for a caterpillar that’s turned into a butterfly…would you?”
No…I had to admit…I guess that I wouldn’t.
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”
Barbara Haines Howett
To graduates of all sizes and ages…spread your wings and fly! Your world is just beginning.