It's official. The Princess is a high school graduate.
Believe it or not, and most of you will not, I didn't cry.
That is not to say that at various times during her party, baccalaureate, and the graduation ceremony my eyes did not fill with tears, I didn't bite my lips, my throat didn't constrict, I didn't have to gulp for air, or that I didn't clench and unclench my fists and wipe my sweaty palms on my thighs.
I am sure my eyes were red by the end of commencement. But no tears slid down my cheeks.
I did not need a tissue. Which is good, because I forgot them in the car.
Someone – several someones – asked me how I felt after her graduation party. I told them the truth:
It was all a blur.
The Princess with all her level-headed wisdom – Where did she get that? When did she get that? – decided she wanted a small, low-key event at home. Somehow we managed to keep the fuss and stress to a minimum, which is to say no one was killed, seriously injured or driven insane. Not that I didn't give it my best shot.
Still, it was a blur of planning, shopping, sorting, cleaning, organizing, and ultimately hiding, storing, covering, and strategic decorating. The guests arrived, we mingled, we laughed, we ate cake and more cake. And more cake. The Princess was beautiful and charming and smiled and smiled and smiled. The Little Prince helped set up and stuck around even after we told him he didn't have to. When did he get so mature?
And then it was over.
Baccalaureate came and went, a lovely ceremony filled with wisdom and humor and encouragement. And cookies. And the blinking, sniffling, chest tightening of not crying.
The graduation ceremony itself, while not what anyone would call brief – especially when crowded into a noisy, hot gymnasium – rushed by. The graduates processed in, there were speeches, words of advice, songs and a slide show that brought me to the edge of tears. Then the graduates received their diplomas, moved their tassels and marched out of the gym for hugs, handshakes, congratulations, and pictures, pictures and more pictures.
And somewhere along the way I realized it had all been a blur.
Bringing home our Little 5-pound Princess from the hospital. Helping her hold her baby brother. Holding her hand as she started preschool. Walking her up the hill to the bus stop and watching her climb the big stairs onto the bus for her first day of kindergarten. Watching nervously out the window later that week after she announced she could walk to the bus stop by herself.
Grade school, middle school, high school. Dance recitals, school programs, band and chorus concerts, sports, cheer leading, homecomings and proms.
And this fall she will start college, far enough away that I can't visit every day (well, I could, but...) yet close enough that she can come home when she wants to (I hope she wants to).
In between now and then, two and a half long, languid summer months that will seem to drag on forever.
Until they are gone.
In a blur.