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O Levels

This was the first year that I knew a lot of kids graduating from high school. With Christopher going into his senior year this fall, I queried parents and students alike: how is the college search process going? How did you choose the schools you applied to? What was the deciding factor in choosing the one you will be attending?

In June, my children's elementary school invited grads back for a small ceremony, and I went along. It turned into what I think of as my first practice cry for Christopher's graduation. I've been choking up over children's events since Christopher was 3 and his nursery school class created \a restaurant. When the door to the classroom opened to reveal all those sweet little children in chef hats and blue plastic aprons, beaming as they stood ready to serve from bowls of plain spaghetti and iceberg lettuce, a lump formed in my throat. To varying degrees, it's been there ever since.

When a college friend wrote to say that her son would be matriculating at our alma mater 30 years after we arrived, the lump forced tears from my eyes. As this summer has progressed, and I've watched local kids get ready to go off on their greatest adventure, I project myself to the coming fall with Christopher, the college application process and eventually, graduation.

I'm trying to get the need to sob and curl up into a fetal position out of the way so I can progress to the point where I can be at his graduation with tears rolling silently down my face.

On our vacation in Ireland, we got a taste of educational emotion, European-style. Some Irish-by-burth, English-by-residence friends of my Irish-resident sister-in-law have 17-year-old twin daughters who had their O Level results faxed to Lanna's office.

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