There is a lush fully-in-bloom orange rose that sits on our kitchen island. Every time I walk into or past the kitchen I see it—the constant reminder that my son has graduated from high school and that this is our summer of transition. We received the rose the evening of Holden’s graduation. Orange, representing one of his school’s colors. The rose for remembrance.
Always one to reflect, I find that I do so more since he has graduated. I think back to how active he was inside of me, craving refried beans, red meat (I don’t eat meat) and fatty foods. He entered this world a planned two weeks early, small and active, ready to forge ahead and he has never stopped. When young he used to line up all of his “guys” just under the fold of his covers, their little faces peeking out along with his as I read bedtime stories to him and the “guys.” And I remember his imaginary friend Peter, although he doesn’t.
Holden began dancing around the age of five, copying N’Sync’s moves and adding to his repertoire. In short order he began to take his boom box (remember those?) around with him in our neighborhood and on vacations, putting out an orange bucket that had “Tips” scrawled on the outside in black permanent marker, while he entertained others with his dancing. I don’t know how great the dancing actually was, but the entertainment value was priceless and he accrued those tips.
Holden exhibited early that he had great compassion and affinity for others. He was available to assist people with tasks, provide translation, and tutor children in younger grades. He also showed a voracious appetite for friendship and life, valuing loyalty and someone’s word.
Time this year has flown. Time with Holden—between studying, athletics, friends, other activities, and exams—has been fleeting. We have, as always, savored what little we have had. Holden stands at the threshold of a rite of passage, excited and prepared to be away from home and at college. We stand there as well, but with a different perspective—with great pride and sadness of separation. Most of our job is done and we hope that we have done it well. We will miss him.