Even as I type those words I cannot quite believe them. I tend to alwasy think of E as my baby - which is what he was for a number of years before his little sisters C and G came along when he was 9 and 12 years old respectively. But today it's really hitting home that while he'll always be my sweet baby boy, he is not, in fact a baby, but is instead a young man with an incredible, panoramic future ahead of him.
We started celebrating E's graduation last night when we all gathered at our neighborhood Mexican restaurant, Senor Taco (which my kids refer to simply as "The Taco."). Our party consisted of Jon and me, Elliot's sisters J, C and G, my mother, my brother. Jon's parents plus E's good friend GB and J's housemate RP.
We were a jolly and boisterous group and we managed to scarf down a belly busting amount of Mexican food.
Once we were done eating, the wait staff at The Taco brought out the yummy Magpies cake (our favorite) I'd stashed in their kitchen earlier in the day. The waiters processed around the restaurant playing a drum and cymbals in a very festive fashion before delivering the cake to E. Along with the cake came E's graduation gifts from all of us, which he had fun opening.
We had just a wonderful time.
Here is E with my mama.
And here are E and his good friend GB.
Then today was graduation day at Thompson Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus. My mom, brother and I went out to lunch at the Tomato Head on Market Square before the main event. After we ate, my brother somehow convinced us we should walk to the graduation venue from downtown, even though we only had 30 minutes to spare. So the three of us totally booked it to get to graduation on time. We just barely made it but were still able to get good seats.
I knew that I would be emotional when E and his classmates trooped in during the traditional graduation processional and I was right; the music made me weepy. My BABY is now 18 years old a a HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE. High school really did seem to go by in the blink of an eye and seeing E and the other kids I know from his class take the stage to collect their diplomas left me all misty-eyed and sniffly. I know there's so much wonderful stuff ahead for my boy but I just feel like his chidhood sped by in the blink of an eye. High school in particular feels like it just started yesterday.
After the ceremony, E posed for photos with all of us, and then....just like that....it was done. High school graduation was over after only a few speeches and a few hundred kids trooping across the stage.
Here are Jon, me, J and E after the ceremony. (We left the little girls with Jon's mom who took them to the Children's reading festival today. We figured that would be more their speed than sitting thru a lengthy graduation ceremony)
And here are J and E after the ceremony today.
And what are E's plans now that graduation is over? Well, he intends to go to the beach withh us week after next, after which he's going to Jamaica on a mission trip with a friend's church. After that he'll be counting down the days until Freshman year begins. He'll be attending the same University as big sister J, and he already knows that he and a friend will get to room together in the dorm he expected to get assigned. His long term goal is law school.
Tonight I remain nostalgic and I can't seem to stop drifting into reveries in which I remember E at 2. 5. 8. 10 and 12, 14, 16 and suddenly...18. Now that he's 18 he intends to wield his newfound legal adult status to get a tattoo - something honoring his big brother Henry, whom I know would have been so proud to see E walk across that stage today.
Oh! And in other big news, E was yesterday named All-State in lacrosse. I'm super proud of him,