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Donna Barker

Turning around into tomorrow

Turn around once, turn around twice, turn around three times, and tomorrow is here.

A few weeks ago, our daughter Anjee and her husband Dan and their two girls, Addi, 5, and Emma, 4, were at our house for a visit.

Addi and I were searching for treasures in the back of Grandma’s closet when she found the navy blue graduation cap worn by her mother when she graduated from high school.

Addi put the cap on her head and I adjusted it just right. Addi looked at herself in the mirror, twirled around a couple times and ran to the living room to show her parents. Her folks clapped and cheered for Addi as she pretended to be a high school graduate.

As I watched that little family, I couldn’t help but remember when Anjee wore that cap for real in a commencement exercise held at the Bollman Fieldhouse in New Bedford, before the new Bureau Valley High School building was built.

I looked at Addi now wearing that same graduation cap, with the same long blond hair and bright blue eyes as her mother’s. Addi is, as they say, the spitting image of her mom.

But 5-year-olds don’t stay in one place for very long, and soon Addi was finished with her twirling and skipped back down the hallway to find more treasures in Grandma’s closet.

Though the whole little scene took maybe two or three minutes, for me it was one of those moments which almost stood still.

I turned to follow Addi down the hallway, but stopped mid-step, turned and walked back into the living room. I knew I needed to share with Addi’s folks something which most every parent of a high school graduate already knows.

“This (pointing toward Addi in her graduation cap) is going to happen tomorrow,” I said. “It may not feel like tomorrow right now, and in reality it’s another 13 years away, but when your little girl’s high school graduation comes, you will realize how quickly all those tomorrows came and went and became today.”

In the next few weeks, hundreds of high school seniors will graduate from Bureau County schools. There will be parties and cheers, camera flashes and lots of hugs. But there may also be some very tender moments for parents as they seem to turn around once, turn around twice and turn around three times and see that their little kindergartner has somehow become a high school graduate.

As parents, we work and plan and worry and hope to get our kids to their high school graduations in one piece, with smiles and confidence as they head out the door to college, to jobs, to the military, to more dreams. I remember wondering if I had done enough, helped enough, stood back enough, prayed enough to prepare my kids for heading out the door. I remember taking a deep breath and letting go.

So graduates, if your moms and dads get a little choked up when they see you put on your cap and gown, if their eyes get a little misty, remember to be gentle with them and let them hurt just a bit before your celebration begins.

That so distant tomorrow has become today for them.

BCR Senior Staff Writer Donna Barker can be reached at dbarker@bcrnews.com.

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