Graduations everywhere, and not a drop of water to drink

OK, there’s a lot going on.

I’ve got George about to graduate from fifth grade and Louie from eighth, both of which are milestone grades, with fifth grade marking the end of elementary school and eighth, the end of middle school.

That means George will be leaving the building where he has attended school for six years, having entered as basically a baby. When I see the tiny kindergartners waddling out of the cars now, past those cement dividers and through the same institutional hallways, I literally can’t believe George was ever among them — not to mention any of my children. I also can’t believe how cute these little kindergartners are. Were my kids that cute? And if they were, why don’t I remember? What’s going on here — and what have I been doing all my life, anyway?

Meanwhile, Louie will be leaving the building where he has attended school for three years — but given prepubescent developments, it may as well have been a decade. When I compare Louie’s first day of middle school picture with the picture I just put in his eighth grade tribute page, therapeutic intervention is required; it’s literally hard to tell it’s the same kid.

Three years ago, Louie was a boy smiling shyly, gripping his new iPhone as if it validated his social stature. The picture I put in the yearbook weeks ago is one of a brooding teenager, looking into the camera with “I don’t need to validate anything to anybody” eyes — except you can’t see his eyes because he has pulled his hair over his face.

Getting Louie to agree to even take a picture for his yearbook tribute involved negotiation tactics not seen since 2011’s talks with North Korea. No to mention, Louie’s a foot taller, his voice an octave lower, and getting his hair cut has somehow become a “very emotional experience” that requires “space” for Louie to work through his “new look” while determining the best hair gel to help maintain it — requiring yet another hour in his seemingly permanent residency in the second-floor bathroom. But none of this matters, because we are living in a multiverse where there is endless optionality to our existence, making me think, where has the time gone? What have I been doing all my life, anyway? All of my lives — in every universe?

As for Selma, she graduated from seventh grade at Greenwich Academy on June 3, finishing up the school year a full four weeks before her brothers, proving true that old adage “the more you pay.” It also leaves Selma lounging around the house, smiling coyly as her brothers drag in their backpacks at 4 pm, while she asks them, “how was your day?” with a languid yawn that makes it immediately clear she has just woken up.

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