I remember when they were that old and we did the math, and the idea of them graduating in the Class of 2006 sounded as distant and futuristic as lunar colonies. Of course my girls eventually grew hair, and looked something like this when I snuck them into Page 82 of Mom's Cancer:
When I was 18, I wondered why everyone made such a fuss about graduation. It really seemed like the slightest of accomplishments to me--just put in your time and they give you a diploma (though I understand and respect that it's not that easy for everyone)--and I perceive the same annoyed vibe from my girls. "What's the big deal and why does everyone keep asking me how I feel about it?" I get that.
At the same time, looking back from across the generation chasm.... Man! That paper is inked in hard work, pride, disappointment, friends, adulthood, independence, the beginning of an exciting but frightening future. Also undeniably my own middle age, my wife and I looking at each other across the table and asking, "All right, that went better than expected, now what?" A parent might understand, although a kid would not, why I get a little weepy when I find a ream of three-ring-binder filler paper that'll never be used. Graduation encompasses a lot.
I was wrong when I was 18. It's a big deal. For now, my girls will just have to accept my word for it. And my congratulations.