Ironing her high school graduation gown, I had to wonder, were we that young when we did this?
I like to think that her farewell to high school is an actual launch for her, not so busy and foggy and full of worry, but it is hard to tell. Swishing the satiny fabric over the board, it begins to really feel to me that it is exactly this sort of night-before activity that rites of passage are meant to give us to help the passage along.
She may or may not feel (as she predicted) that a realization will hit a couple of weeks into the summer. For her the cap is a silly tradition that presents a hair problem, the ceremony a final band performance and a spectacle to watch more than feel as her companions complain and adjust and discuss parties and summer jobs. They may or may not realize that she is dressed like a goddess under that robe, with a shiny new phoenix pendant just below the collar. But she will know.
For now, the rite of passage is sinking into my thoughts, as it should, as I gently stretch and press, check and press.
I’m glad it’s not a wedding or a funeral that made me search for the long neglected board and iron. Just the same, the transitions wash over as each section of fabric progresses across the steamy board. She for a moment is a person who hasn’t even entered life quite yet.
I named her with tremendous seriousness, choosing a name that carried a promised tradition of strength and generosity and honesty. She has already earned her name and given it even more beauty and courage.
Whether because of me or in spite of me, she is moving into the broader world a better, stronger, luckier person that I ever imagined.