Fiction

Contemplating Moving On: Graduation Glee

I’ve been thinking about synergies. One such synergy prompts me to write this. Someone recently came upon my various blogs (despite being MIA here, I do write professionally – i.e. for PAY! – on a couple other websites) and encouraged me with effusive praise to keep writing. She really “heard” my voice and wished I would make more effort to continue my blog. Thus, here I am. On a side note, I’m hoping to migrate to WordPress (if I knew then what I know now…), which is partially why I haven’t been updating my standing websites. However, if Paulina hadn’t encouraged me to write more, I wouldn’t be posting after a six-month hiatus.

Which brings me to synergy number two, my daughter, a humongous Glee fan, is graduating high school. As it so happens, so are the majority of the Glee characters. Despite the fact that most of the actors are in their mid-20s, in the world of Glee, they’re all “pushing 18” and heading off into the sunset (a sunset that seems blissfully unaware that college acceptances went out a few weeks ago… they’re still doing callbacks for the fictional “NYADA,” leaving the futures of characters Kurt Hummell and Rachel Berry up in the air – SPOILER ALERT! – word has it both Chris Colfer and Lea Michelle will be on Glee next season, post-graduation, so that may not bode well on their NYC dreams). When I came home on Tuesday to find my daughter in tears, I thought her beloved “Klaine” had broken up (Klaine is the combined name of Kurt and Blaine, played by Darren Criss, pictured above). While they did have a major plot arc this week, what really upset her was the fact that the episode was all about preparing to leave (which segued nicely into an all-Whitney-Houston tribute about saying “goodbye”). At one point, one of the characters said, “We only have 42 more days together,” and my daughter’s waterworks began anew.

Now, here’s the thing about my beloved off-spring: She rarely cries. I cry at everything. I’ve seen “The Notebook” 100 times, I must confess. I cry at happy endings, I cry at sad beginnings. My daughter, on the other hand, must be upset. I really was unable to get her perspective at first, because the episode didn’t end badly and the ups and downs were not too emotional. She kept trying to explain to me that this show has paralleled her life for three years, and just as Finn, Puck, Quinn and Mike are moving on, so are my daughter and her friends. A handful will stay here in NYC, but many will go their own ways. She isn’t quite devastated, but she is dreading “the end.”

I was wondering why I couldn’t empathize with my kid. I mean, I have been able to help her negotiate broken hearts, girlfriend rivalry, idiot teachers (few and far between, I’m happy to say), the dangers of the MTA, and walking at night in Brooklyn, among many, many other events these past 18 years. Why was the whole “leaving high school” thing so hard for me? Had I simply forgotten how important those teenage relationships were? Was my early onset Alzheimers making the past a warm and fuzzy remembrance?

Not really. As I focused and tried to remember my own graduation, I vaguely remember most of my “friends” not coming to my graduation party (it was somewhat complicated, as I had changed schools my junior year and lived away from most of my peers). I remember a guy I was sort of dating but who never really became my boyfriend. I remember my sister being more social than I was. The few friends who did show up were from an a cappella group I had helped form outside of school; we sang at various events, including the Indy 500 parade. Although I was very active in speech and drama, I was never really a part of the “in” crowd. In other words, I had nothing to regret as I left it all behind me. In fact, I was the only kid from my graduating class to attend college out of state. I left, and I never returned (I didn’t even attend my 25th high school reunion… although I do admit it gave me the opportunity to reconnect with a few folks on Facebook).

And here’s another interesting synergy. I am “different.” My daughter is “different.” However, I spent my high school years in a small town, not unlike the one depicted in Glee, where the “different” kids all want to move away (preferably to NYC). My daughter has spent the past four years with all the other “different” kids (she attends a renown performing arts high school). Whereas I had no real friends to speak of and no community to leave behind, she has been loved and embraced (and returned the favor) and, as both an artist and young woman, been able to truly thrive (excuses the split infinitive). She is a fully formed adult. I think I may be a fully formed adult by 50 (which is in 5 years… I studied way too many Soviet-style 5-year plans, so I know they rarely work out).

So I finally “get” why my kid was crying during this week’s Glee episode. Nonetheless, I think you can only look ahead. Missing the things you’ll not be carrying with you will only blind you from finding the things that are now available to you.

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