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The Wonder of Watching Your Child Go

The oldest is graduating.

We watched Wonder together the other day. She had never seen it; this was my third go around. All the feelings. I cry like a baby every time I see this movie, basically from beginning to end. But even more so with this one: my first born, my child who loves all things family and education, the main issues in Wonder. Did I mention she's won scholarships based on her writings on these two topics?

But why does it get to me?

Because those are the very issues I've spent my life on.

Tell mère, tell fille.

After a decade of home education, I know the feeling all too well of releasing your precious progeny into the real world of formal school. (Auggie, the main character, is homeschooled for his early education and then is plunged into the deep waters of middle school). Leading lambs to the slaughter is a nice way of putting the gut wrenching experience of saying—after ten years—"go on, you'll be fine." When Auggie's family walks him to the the threshold of his first day... ugh. Can't handle it. Meltdown.

But what's more for me, especially as a mom to many, are the scenes where the older sister is crushed by her parent's divided attention. Auggie's special circumstances take up a good portion of their time and energy. Having six kids means someone is always getting overlooked. Probably more than one if we're being honest. We can't always be at their big moments. We miss lots. We do our best to be present for everyone but our best doesn't always stretch far enough.

And yet.

I project this feeling of isolation onto their situations more than anything; they've rarely expressed their disappointment that we're not always there. In fact, I think they relish it—to a certain extent at least. Being in a big family means there's little privacy. Having something all your own goes a long way. Sometimes, it's actually a point of pride: "they have their things, I have mine."

The oldest is getting ready to really have her own thing.

Watching my oldest prepare to leave for college is a wonder all it's own. She's ready. She'll be amazing. As we sat together at Hamilton a few nights ago, there couldn't have been more wonderful words to send her away than these:

When you smile, you knock me out, I fall apart And I thought I was so smart If we lay a strong enough foundation We’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world to you And you’ll blow us all away Someday, someday Yeah, you’ll blow us all away.

Blow us away, baby girl. We all know you will.

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