There is something about the end of the school year that
marks the passage of time more harshly than birthdays or New Year’s. A cruel reminder of how much time has passed since I graduated and how few years are left before my boys are grown
At last Sunday's service, we celebrated those who have graduated from high school or college. They
get called to the front of the church and asked to share their accomplishments and future
plans. Inevitably, my mind becomes a human
calculator. I can’t balance my checkbook,
yet I can subtract years and compare dates at the speed of light. (That would be 299, 792, 458 m / s.)
I recall standing there for my high school graduation; when
the one collegegraduate’s mother was pregnant with her. Then, I remember that those high school kids
where younger than Garrett is now that summer I was their pregnant bible school
teacher. It hits me that in exactly ten
years my youngest son will be 18 and graduating from high school.
I stop doing the math.
I look down at my youngest with his Alfalfa-Hair sticking up
at the crown of his head. We were the only McGrevys at church that Sunday and
he had my undivided attention. That kind
of attention is rare when you have a special needs sibling and he seemed to be
enjoying every minute of it.
After small gifts were presented to the graduates, they
remained standing while we sang to them.
That is a fairly new tradition and it must be excruciating. But they made me feel old, so I
had no sympathy.
The hymn began:
I was there to hear your borning cry,
I'll be there when youare old.
I rejoicedthe dayyou were baptized,
to see your life unfold.
“This song always makes me cry,” I whispered. The boy’s eyes bulged and his face paled at
the full weight of that statement.
She’s going to start
bawling and Dad’s not here.
“Do you want me to go get you a tissue?”
he tried to leave the pew.
I grabbed his arm.
“Sit down. I’m fine.”
I smiled, yet he seemed unconvinced.
If you find someone to share your time
and you join your heartsas one,
I'll be there to make your verses rhyme,
from dusk 'till rising sun.
He started to pat my arm. Actually, it was very similar to the way he pets Pongo Elmo McGrevy, the youngest member of our family. But I thought it was sweet.
When the evening gently closes in,
and you shut your weary eyes,
I'll be there as I have always been,
with just one more surprise.
easier to hold your emotions back when two big blue eyes are staring you down,
waiting for your head to explode. For the first time in history, I did not cry during that hymn. The graduates returned to
their seats. I didn’t dare look at
their mothers. My son leaned over and
whispered, “Remember when I was born?” I put my arm around him
and pulled him close. I nodded, afraid
to talk and ruin my tearless accomplishment. He leaned over and
whispered again, “Was I covered in blood?” Gross. I’m not sure I can last another ten years.