I went to my daughter's eighth grade awards ceremony this morning. I was really proud that she was getting an award for maintaining a 3.5 GPA for the last three years.
I almost didn't go because she usually doesn't want me to go to these kinds of things, but she said that she wanted me there today. I figured it was because she could leave school right after the ceremony if I was there to sign her out. I didn't think that it was because she wanted to share this experience with me.
And if she left early, she could spend the day with her friends and they could spend hours getting ready together for tonight's eighth grade dance. They're all super excited about it. They're not going with dates because they still move in a herd of girls. No boyfriends yet, just boys who are friends and giggly crushes.
We went shopping for a new dress a few weeks ago, which was surprisingly enjoyable, and the other night, we raided my jewelry box for accessories. (She's wearing the necklace her father gave me when she was born.) And yesterday, she got a manicure and a pedicure.
So, this morning, we got to school a little early for the ceremony so I could get a good parking spot. (My neuroses.) We spent time sitting in the car, watching the clock turn and listening to this British girl band she likes called "Little Mix." She was looking around for her friends so that she didn't have to walk in to school with her mom. I get that. It doesn't hurt my feelings. But she walked with me anyway, and we went our separate ways once we were inside.
I went to the gym and found a seat up in the bleachers and passed the time talking to the mom of one of her long-time friends. We talked about our girls and the fact that they're going to high school in August and how neither of our kids made too much of a big deal about the ceremony, so we didn't think too much of it, either.
The kids started filing in to the gym from both sides in some sort of order that wasn't alphabetical. So, I wasn't sure where to look for her. And at first, I didn't see her.
But then I did.
She was almost in the back row. And she had poked her head out from behind the person in front of her, looking for me. We locked eyes and she gave me that sweet, sweet smile. The one that I know. The one that's just for me. The one that says, "Hey Mom."
I smiled back and held my tears the best that I could. I was flooded with so many emotions. Feeling proud and happy and nervous. And a love so great that I thought my heart was going to explode.
But I knew that our shared moment was fleeting.
After the ceremony, when I was signing her out, she was back to her usual, teenage self. The one who isn't demonstrative in public. The one who just wants to hang out with her friends. The one who is too cool to hang out with her mom.
And that's okay. I get it. That shared moment was enough for me.
Knowing that she knows whenever she looks for me, I'll be looking for her.
And we will always find each other.