Saturday, December 02, 2006

Surprise Wounds

"2006 law school graduate Becky Noran was surrounded by the love and pride of her family as they gathered to celebrate her achievements at Commencement."

My law's school's "Dean's Report" came in the mail today. Leafing through, planning to rather quickly toss it into the recycling bin, my eyes stopped on a joy-filled photograph with the above-quoted caption. It was indeed a law school graduate on graduation day, grinning from ear to ear, her mother on her left, father on her right, perfectly capturing Becky's triumph over law school and her parents' pride.

In the infamous split-second, tears filled my eyes.

I found myself at my own law school graduation, no, actually, I found myself in the car on the way home, wishing someone, anyone, from my own family had been there to surround me with "love and pride."

By the time law school commencement rolled around, my father had been absent from my life for many years, and my mother, well . . .I love my mother dearly and now that I am one, I am intimately familiar with the Failings of Mothers. Let's just say she couldn't be there, or wouldn't be there. She wasn't there.

It was more of the same, really. The little girl who used to fill out her own permission slips for field trips, then present them for signature, offering a pen and pointing to the signature line, she's still here, taking care of herself. And failing sometimes.

Lest the reader leave with the impression of the author as some constantly sad person, let me say: some days, most days, life is all Bob Marley's One Love and perfect. I'm a generally happy, upbeat, adventurous, laughing person.

But every once in a while, a surprise wound surfaces. The forgotten, or misplaced, or buried.


Then the voices start: "Oh get a grip, you should be lucky you went to law school, that you live in relative comfort in this country, and that you are reasonably intelligent . . .if mommy or daddy not coming to graduation are your worst problems, then you are blessed indeed."

I felt that way on graduation day, and I still feel that way nearly 8 years later.

But wounds are wounds, and sometimes they jump out at us from the unlikliest places, like the Dean's Report. I thought it had healed.

I still wish my parents had been at graduation. But that's ok. Up against the wounds I could have, I'll take this one, thanks. I'll laugh at how we all have our wounds, plan another adventure, and put Marley's One Love on repeat.

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