The Recital (Part One)

I started this blog six years ago, when Elder Girleen went off to elementary school.

Last night, she “graduated” from fifth grade.

I could attempt to wax eloquent about the passage of time, because that’s what we parents do, but to paraphrase Benny, a character in Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad —

nostalgia is the end — everybody knows that.  

Even so, this whirlwind of culminating moments — final recitals, final exhibitions, graduations — is tailor-made,  not just for nostalgia (and oh how they milk that,  with the kids marching into the auditorium two-by-two to the first few bars of The Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony*  and a slide show of their baby pics) but for a sort of regrouping.   These rituals carve out emotional space, and in that space we take stock, we  take, as they call it in yoga, a deep centering breath.  

I don’t say as much as I used to here about the personal, about the daily.  Part of that’s because — let’s face it —  blogs as a medium died a flash-in-the-pan death eons (a couple of years) ago.  The world has since migrated to Twitter and Facebook. Part of that’s because when your children are themselves surfing the ‘net, you’re fielding a lot of hard questions about what’s private, what’s personal, and what should be offered up for public consumption.

But above all, there’s only so much time.   I write more stories these days.

But last weekend, I sat on yet-another  uncomfortable folding chair.  Took one of those deep, centering breaths and in doing so took a second to parse things out,  to mark this particular moment.

*Just the sweeping strings of the instrumental intro; lyrics like

‘Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life
Try to make ends meet
You’re a slave to money then you die

are kinda a downer, particularly at a 5th grade graduation ceremony.