pomp and circumstance

pomp: n. splendid or magnificent

The heat in the gym was like an uninvited guest.  A large, pushy, smothering uninvited guest.

Regardless of my choice to wear capri pants and a sleeveless top, my black gown was sticking to me in all the wrong places.

As my name was called to come forward to assist the graduates, I felt myself rise and waddle to the stage.

I could hear the gasps.

I heard a loudly hushed voice mutter publicly, “that poor woman!”

Sucking my breath in through my nose and standing taller, I tried to look less round, but it was no use.

I was nine months pregnant and stretching that graduation gown taunter than it was ever intended.

I smiled widely at the first row of graduates as they stood and filed toward me.

Taking the first student’s name card, I felt a shiver plunge down my sweaty spine.

circumstance:  n. formal display or ceremony

She was smiling at me in a way I had never seen.  Her eyebrows were high and she looked like she could take off running.

Running to her future.

As I smoothed her card and turned it right side up, I waited for the cue to pass it to our assistant principal who would begin reading the almost 200 names.

Graduate after graduate passed in front of me.

Sweat pooled under my cap, threatening to break free in rivers down my  neck and temples.

My feet were so swollen that I had to step out of my flip flops and stand bare-footed on the gym floor.  At this point my water could have broke and I probably wouldn’t be able to tell.

But despite the nervous glances by my principal and all the concerned questions from the graduates, my son stayed put.

He stayed put but kicked and partied throughout the ceremony.

And as the names were called and family cheered and sweaty students shook the hands of the administration I realized that in 18 years I would be cheering.

Each of the students belonged to someone.  Each graduate started out as a kicking little life in a mother’s womb.

As a graduate gave me a spontaneous hug before hearing his name called, my brain flashed forward 18 years and tears welled up in my eyes.

I quickly snapped out of it, took the next name card, shifted my heavy weight from one swollen foot to the other, and painted on a huge smile.

After all, the class of 2009 was graduating with pomp and circumstance.

This week’s Memoir Prompt:  Write about a memorable graduation.

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About ksluiter

Just a small town girl...wait no, that is a Journey song. Although I do live in a small town. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, and a writer. We have joys and we have struggles. Just like you.
This entry was posted in life changes, me, nonfiction, Red Dress Club. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to pomp and circumstance

  1. Tracie says:

    You conjured up all the memories of being pregnant in the hot summer months.

    I love the bridge you have built between the graduates and the children that they once were.

  2. DM says:

    I enjoyed this too. I feel so bad for you with your huge belly and swollen feet, but I feel your surge of pride too in each of these kids. I love the way you brought it full circle comparing your unborn son to when they were babies too.

  3. Aww.. I really liked this – though I felt bad for you – at the final stages of your pregnancy in the heat of summer… I’m hoping to get pregnant next spring, and just suffer through morning sickness in the summer, haha.

  4. I took a self-imposed bloggy break and I missed the blog update. I love it. Looks great. Nice piece. Excellent pacing and tone. Just the right blend of nostalgia and humor. This is my favorite line: “Each of the students belonged to someone. Each graduate started out as a kicking little life in a mother’s womb.”

    Poor you. I wouldn’t want to graduate pregnant. Nope. Nope. Nope.

  5. Ok, I got choked up at this one. I try not to think too far ahead, not to rush things, but I hope with all my might that my kids value education as much as I do. What a great memory.
    Good job not giving birth during those students’ important ceremony! 😉
    Came from TRDC…as usual.

  6. As always, your details take me into your skin. What we teachers do!! Thanks for sharing, and I love how it brought you 18 years in the future. Those years move quick, too quick!

  7. Ally says:

    I’m two years away from watching my son graduate. I get teary just thinking about it! I had a summer pregnancy, too, but didn’t give birth until September. Thank goodness it wasn’t too hot of a summer!

  8. Graduation seems so far off, but I know it will be here in two minutes.

    Altho some of my tears when Sawyer graduates will be from thinking of all the years of college tuition ahead of me by the time X finishes college!

    BTW, LOVE your new photo! Your eyes are so blue and you look gorgeous!

  9. Love the first line. It really set the stage…made me feel hot and miserable and glad I’m not enduring the heat nine months pregnant!

  10. Love this. I remember the abject fear in people’s eyes when they saw me coming those last few weeks of pregnancy (also during a hot, hot summer). Then again I was carrying full-term twins (14 lbs of baby!) and looked like a human torpedo.

    I love how you tell this, bring us right there into your thoughts with you, then snap us back out again. Just lovely.

  11. Kir says:

    WOW, I didn’t read this last week but reading it today, it was worth the wait!!!

    this was perfect in so many ways, the way you made me think about Eddie in 18 years and my own children, the way we all start out…WOW, what Imagery!!!!

    I. LOVED. THIS. 😉

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