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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Achievement (03/08/12)

TITLE: Graduation Day
By Seema Bagai


Sunlight filtered through the cloudy remnants of the late spring storm. On the lawn behind the school, families gathered for the commencement ceremony. An arch of red and white balloons swayed upon the stage.

Before I could give her a hug, my daughter ran off to join the other students. My heart slumped. She looked so big in her cap and gown. All the kids did. She’s not my little girl anymore. She’s growing up.

Ed took my hand and led me away from the cluster of graduates and steered me toward the rows of metal folding chairs. We squeezed our way into the middle of a row. A cluster of tripods lined the aisles, the cameras poised ready to capture every second of the event about to unfold.

I can’t believe this day is here. Bella is graduating. My baby. It seems like school just started. All those trips to the library. Washing paint out of her clothes after art class. Progress reports. Practicing for the Christmas concert. Where did the time go?

All those parenting books I read. None of them prepared me for today. I’m not ready for this. Oh, I hope I brought enough tissues. I dug though my purse and retrieved the package that was hiding underneath a bag of graham crackers.

I turned to my husband. “Did you bring extra batteries for the camera? Remember I want lots of pictures after the ceremony, too.”

“Karlene, just relax and enjoy the day.” Ed reached over, draped his arm around my shoulders, and squeezed. I fanned myself with a program and fought back the tears.

“I’m trying,” I mumbled. First steps. First words. First day of school. Memories coursed one after the other like a slide show in overdrive.

The music began and the graduates marched to their seats on the stage. I spotted Bella and waved both my arms above my head. She gave me a small wave and grin in return. I applauded as pride and tears gushed.

The school’s director approached the microphone. She smiled and said, “Welcome family and friends to Rancho Vista Preschool’s graduation ceremony.”

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This article has been read 445 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 03/16/12
Great job of bringing the cold splash of reality to life...when a parent realizes their "child" is no longer a "child."

Great job of showing rather than telling the mom's internal and external conflict during this auspicious occassion.

God Bless~
Joanne Sher 03/19/12
Was TOTALLY not expecting the twist at the end! Love the emotion and description.
Laura Hawbaker03/20/12
Well written. Surprise at the end! I like good beginnings and endings that make me think.
Edmond Ng 03/21/12
A surprising ending with many more years ahead for the MCs to achieve. Nicely written and an interesting read.
Kathleen Langridge03/22/12
I loved it! You got me in the end. Well crafted, causing me to laugh out loud at the ending.
Hiram Claudio03/22/12
This was wonderful. I too was caught by surprize at the ending. Having a son who graduated high school a few years ago, the piece made me think of that day for him. My two sons are 12 years apart in age. So the day before my older son's high school graduation ... my little guy graduated kindergarten. I was emotional at both.

Thanks for stirring the memories in me. Enjoy your daughter!
AnneRene' Capp03/22/12
What a great ending! Not only made me laugh, made me think about all of my own motherly moments performed in "overdrive." :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/22/12
Ahh I love this. I thought it might be a kindergarten graduation. I can so empathize with your MC. My babies grew up so fast. My oldest is getting married, my middle one is getting ready to go to Seminary and my baby is graduating from High School. It does go fast and you did a great job of tugging on my heart. Congratulations on placing 9th in level 3!
Barbara Lynn Culler03/22/12
Definitely a surprise ending! Great job and congrats on your placement. Glad you are able to go to a writing conference- hope you get a lot of encouragement from it!
Rita Garcia03/23/12
What a perfect visual of graduation day from a mother's perspective. Love it!
Amy Michelle Wiley 03/24/12
I knew from the start that it was a kindergarten or preschool graduation and enjoyed the giggles to myself as I read. Watch out for tense changes--you switched back and forth between present and past tense often. Otherwise very well-written. Sweet story!