I've been struggling to find words to capture this day. Jonathan is graduating from high school tomorrow. And as you may or may not know, he's been homeschooled all these years.
Starting from first grade, he's been home with me and Eric and truthfully, we did a whole lot of un-schooling. That is, we let the kids find the things they were interested in and encouraged them to pursue those.
Jon was always more interested in dressing up (every day!) and playing games that relied heavily on his imagination.
Would it surprise you to know that he's going to be pursuing an acting career? Specifically in comedy. I'm proud of him for having the courage to go after what he wants, but I'm scared for him, too.
Because Jon is the youngest of my four kids, this is obviously not my first rodeo graduation.
When Amy walked in her bright red robes in 2001 twirling her gold Honor Thespian tassel, I clapped and cheered. I think I openly wept. There was no more proud mom at that moment.
Then Adam was asked to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at his graduation in 2004. I know I clapped and cheered. Louder than anyone. There might have been tears of relief mingled with joy.
Lucy did her thing in 2011. Of course, I clapped and cheered and shed my tears. I was blogging by then. Here's what I wrote about her graduation speech: Exact Change.
Now it's Jonathan's turn. He walks tomorrow and will be giving a speech, and I'll be honest, I'm much more tender about this moment than all the others. The other ones joke that it's because Jon is my favorite, but every other mom who has more than one child will understand that when "the baby" reaches a milestone it signals the end of an era for the parents.
The only word to describe it is that I feel extremely "tender." As the mom who has homeschooled him for his entire school career, I'm the one who worried as he struggled to read. Who hoped he'd learn how to learn. Who made sure he ate and slept and did his chores and finished his work and said please and thank you.
I woke up one day and in place of my sweet little guy was a man. Of course I went through this with each of my other kids, but this is the last one. The quiet and painfully shy one. The one who could barely speak up at our dinner table. I wrote about that here: The Biggest Insult.
Every time he takes the stage I'm blown away that my introverted Jon can command such a presence. That he is such a natural leader and gatherer of people. And that he's so darn funny.
Jon is the beneficiary of my blogging years and so I've managed to capture all of his best moments of growth on stage.
- Here he is finding his groove in High School Musical: Jonathan Finds His Groove.
- That moment when he became Willy Wonka: Pure Imagination.
- Or there was the time he wore a sparkly red dress as Edna in Hairspray: You Can't Stop the Beat.
- My favorite performance was when he played the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz: We're Off to See the Wizard.
This year he was Lazar Wolf in his high school production of Fiddler on the Roof.
Here's my favorite scene that he's in with his best friend, Nathan. "To Life."
And then, there came that bittersweet moment when he took his final bows.
And thanked our friend and the only director he's ever known. (I can't even look at this photo without weeping.)
So here he goes. Off to find his way in the world. And Eric and I are left shaking our heads in amazement and wonder.
To steal a line from Fiddler (Sunrise, Sunset), "When did he grow to be so tall? Wasn't it yesterday when they were small?"
We are thrilled. We are delighted. We are left scratching our heads and wondering, "How did that happen so quickly?"
Tomorrow I'll cry and pray and hug my graduate. And I'll thank God that I was privileged to have a daily front row seat to The Jonathan Show.
I'm taking a week off to plan and prepare (amidst my tears and joy) the biggest blow-out of a graduation celebration we've ever had around here.
Congratulations, Jonathan and all the Class of 2014. Mazel tov, my friend. Better yet, here's TO LIFE.