AJ was dressed casually, but handsomely, as were his classmates. It was a warm spring evening, and we were proud as he sang his heart out at the concert, even if he looked odd as the only child in the group holding a pretend song book so he would not forget the words. Later, we smiled a bit more naturally than he did when he received his diploma; the pictures are proof of this, and when I see our son with his forced “four-year-old smile”, it makes me grin from ear to ear.
At least once a week throughout the school year, I would walk through the door and he would have something to show me from his day at school. For instance, he was proud of himself for participating in barefoot day, something he had been too anxious to do the previous year. And in that instance, and so many others like it, I would saw him with the biggest smile while he told me what he had accomplished that day. You know the smile; it is the one with that special twinkle you see in his eye that is only there when he is genuinely happy.
I assure you, all of those smiles all of those evenings looked nothing like the one this night, but that is okay with me; he gets it and he has yet to achieve anything in life for the sake of “graduation” anyway.