Madison graduated from Mililani Mauka Elementary on Friday. As yet, I am still empty when trying to come up with an answer to the eternal question of where the time went. Increasingly, there is more of it behind us, fading into the obscurity of my memory while less is preserved here in this blog space. Adulthood, parenthood, I think, is punctuated by milestones like this but mostly it is the grind of sameness that creates an illusion that nothing is changing. Then you wake up on a Friday and your oldest kid is wearing a bra and heels to her 5th grade graduation. “How do you feel?” Lynnette asked Madison as we walked through the courtyard. “What do you mean?” Madison replied. “This is the last time you’ll walk through here as a student,” Lynnette continued. There was a pause. “I hadn’t really thought about it,” Madison said. Same, Mad. Same.
“Think of some place you want to eat where we can’t go with the twins,” Lynnette told her earlier in the week. The fried mac and cheese balls made Macaroni Grill a no-doubter, I suppose. It’s nice to know that some things haven’t changed.
You might recall that Mad and Lynnette conspired to prank me on April Fool’s Day. They told me that Madison “started her menstruation” and let me believe it for a solid 15 minutes before letting me in on the joke. It was a wild 15 minutes inside my head. That bewilderment became begrudging respect and anger when I was told it wasn’t so. I vowed to get both of them back. Two weeks ago, I screamed Lynnette’s name in the living room like something horrible had happened. “ARE YOU CALLING ME?” Lynnette shouted from the bedroom. “YES!” I replied with the same urgency. Lynnette sprinted around the corner and into the living room. “What?” she said. I pointed to the TV “Edward’s going to reveal himself to the Volturi!” I said, pointing to the TV. One of the Twilight movies was on. She looked at me. She looked at the TV. she looked back at me. “F*******ck!” she shouted. It was my finest acting performance in a very long time.
On Friday, we gave Madison her graduation gift – it was an empty iPhone box. She was pretty salty about it but not for the reason I intended. She assumed there was nothing in the box before she even opened it because “that’s something dad would do” and damn, does she know me. So when she lifted the cover and there was no phone there, she wasn’t surprised. When I actually handed her the phone, however, she was stunned. She still couldn’t believe it. That it actually worked. That there was data on it. She tried to hide her glee behind semi-sarcastic comments, but Lynnette and I know her too well. “Well?” Lynnette said. “Finally,” Mad said through a half-smile.
Madison will attend Damien in the fall and she’s not excited about it. I don’t blame her. She didn’t really have a choice in the matter. But then again, neither did I. My parents selected Damien because it was the best education they could afford. I had my doubts (how the hell was I supposed to meet girls?!) but in retrospect, Damien was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I met my best friends there. I played baseball against some of the best local players in history. I somehow got into college through Damien. Really, that’s all I can hope for with Madison – that she makes the most of her time at Damien. That she builds lifelong friendships. That she takes advantage of the athletic and academic opportunities. That she joins some clubs and organizations. That over the next 7 years, she’ll grow into a well-rounded young woman like those who have passed through my classroom.
Mem and I are so proud of you. As well as you have done in the classroom, I am even more impressed by your work as a big sister, especially with Avery. I think Gravy will miss you very much at school next year. I look forward to cruising through the zipper lane with you next year, doing my work in my classroom in the early morning while you sleep in a desk. I know that purple and gold probably aren’t your favorite colors but give them a chance. Congratulations on completing elementary school! Mem and I are sooo not ready for your next adventure – and maybe you aren’t either – but that’s part of what makes life so exciting. Viriliter Age.
BUT FIRST, SUMMER!