Monday, May 30, 2011

A Day Long Awaited

I'm back!

For short periods of time, anyway.

I broke my arm two months ago and have been trying to keep it sort of easy just maintaining my regular blog. Anyway, I'm back today with my entry for The Red Dress Club's memoir topic: Graduation. Here goes.

It was time.

I hadn't been nervous until now. Even thinking about all the things that could go wrong...

falling down the stairs
tripping across the stage
the cap falling off
getting my gown caught

None of that made me nervous. If any of those things had happened, I would have shrugged it off, laughed about it, and remembered it was graduation and no one would be around to think of that girl who face planted at the feet of the Dean. 

I marched the recessional in step behind a stranger. My cheeks burned as I moved ever closer to the door. To them.

I didn't know the last time my parents had been in a room together. Years.

The divorce had been friendly enough. As friendly as divorces can go, anyway. But somewhere along the way, that all changed. Maybe it was when Dad remarried. Or when Mom let us change religions without asking him about it first. Over the years, the friendliness turned ugly until they finally stopped speaking altogether.

And now they were reunited for my college graduation, which came about five years later than it should have. 

My parents are both reasonable adults, civil and diplomatic when the situation calls for it. I learned that from both of them. It's a trait that has served me well in many occasions. Mom even said it would be good to get it out of the way before my brother's wedding a few months later.

Still, I was nervous. 

At the door I said good bye to a few of the classmates who had become friends over the past two years. We hugged and promised to email and were quickly swamped by a sea of crying mothers and proud grandparents and kids that whined about being hungry.

I scanned the crowd as best I could from my 5 feet and 4 inches, but my family was nowhere to be found. My cheeks burned as I imagined my parents going off in opposite directions, refusing to speak or to be seen together. 

Would that really happen?

I stopped and took a deep breath and there was a tap on my shoulder.

It was my mother.

"Congratulations!" she practically screamed, pride radiating from her pores as she threw her arms around me. 

My dad hung back just a bit with my step-mom, my brother and his fiancĂ©e, letting us have our moment. When I let go of my mom, Dad stepped forward and offered his own congratulations. 

I watched them. Looking for signs of something. Of bitterness or friendliness. Anything that would reveal how the rest of the weekend would go.

Things seemed a little awkward. Or was that just me?

"We were talking about dinner," my mom said, shifting a meaningful look in my father's direction. "But we realized we don't know what's around here. Suggestions?"

I laughed. And threw out of couple of ideas. And then I went to dinner with my parents.