Today, I took part in the UCR graduation--my first graduation as a faculty member. I felt like a little kid playing dress up--the only robes they could find for me were huge; they swept the floor as I walked, and my hands got lost inside the enormous sleeves. I sat on the stage with other faculty members and watched my wonderful students--some of whom I've had every quarter since I started teaching at UCR last summer--get their diplomas. I think back to when my husband graduated from UCR 13 years ago and I was a shy young mother, just starting to write fiction, sitting in the bleachers under the hot sun. I never could have imagined that 13 years later, I'd be on the stage among the faculty. I never could have imagined that 13 years later, I'd be in the middle of a divorce. Life is full of so many surprises.
My son graduated from high school on Tuesday. He'll be starting UCR in the fall. I can barely wrap my mind around the fact that we will be able to have lunch together--him as a college student, me as faculty--on the same campus where I used to push him around in a stroller when we lived in student family housing.
At his graduation, I sat on the "Visitor" side of the field while his dad sat on the "Home" side--this wasn't intentional; the crowd was utter chaos, and my parents and I took seats where we could find them. It was fitting, though--my son is living with his dad, while our daughter is living with me, so I am very much a visitor in his life right now. It is hard to not see him every day, but thankfully we're still close; I suppose when kids reach this age, we're all just visitors in their lives. It's such a time of letting go. I am grateful for any amount of time I can spend with my beautiful boy (who has grown into a beautiful man).
Congratulations to Arin and to my graduating students. I am so proud of all of you.