Friday, May 24, 2013
My kid just graduated. Like, an hour ago.
A few days ago, I received a... I don't know what to call it. A non-invitation??? A composite photo of my child, with a letter from her. The letter was essentially saying that she wasn't going to ask me NOT to attend, but that she didn't want me to approach her.
I was torn about how to feel before I got that letter, but that pretty much sealed it. I'm out of emotion where this is concerned. Going into today, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel. Happy? Proud? Sad? Ashamed?
As a side note, I think high school graduations are ridiculous. I think having ceremonies and parties and gifts to commemorate achieving (in some cases and in her case barely achieving) the minimum acceptable standard of education is ridiculous. Don't get me started on middle school graduations. Kindergarten is fine by me though, because it's so damn adorable.
So I went. I sat with my mom and dad, my sister, her husband and two kids, my husband and my best local friend. I had my husband for comfort, and my friend and niece for comic relief and distraction. I had a purse full of tissues. I didn't turn out to need too much comfort, relief, and distraction, and I used one tissue only because my allergies are killing me this week. But I sat and watched and clapped and "woo"d when they called her name, or the names of the couple of her friends I know and care about, but other than that I just really felt nothing.
Maybe it's because I no longer feel as though I know her, so when that stranger with my child's name and face walks across the stage there's some cognitive dissonance, but not the same attachment. She will only continue to become more of a stranger over time. In the cost versus benefit analysis, caring costs me a lot of time, energy, and effort, and there's no emotional payback from the stranger she is becoming. So the investment starts to wane.
I'm officially done parenting now. It's over. Against much advice to the contrary, I chose life when pregnant at 18. I based most of my life around what she needed and wanted. I tried. She thought I sucked at it, apparently, so at this point --whatever, with one exception. I am still angry at how she has cut my husband off. He deserves better, even if she feels I do not. And she knows it, and should be ashamed of herself for that.
Now, on to other things. Parenting is a stage of life, not a state of being. It comes, and sometimes, it goes. And it's gone.