Pomp and a Whole Lot of Circumstance

by Allison Stoutland

Pomp and a Whole Lot of Circumstance

This week I am writing the first draft of my blog while saving seats in the auditorium as our daughter gets ready to graduate from high school. This ain’t my first rodeo people. I knew what was coming and came prepared, hence throwing my trusty iPad into my pocketbook along with the graduation tickets and, most importantly, tissues! 

Before you worry that I am not living in the moment, I have to say this really isn’t a moment I want to live in right now. You see, we just moved here two years ago and as I look around the crowd I begin to cry. Why? Because most of the people I am searching for are not here. I look for those dedicated hockey moms and dads I traveled with for YEARS. I search for those silly fifth-grade boys who dressed up as Napoleon Dynamite for Halloween so many years ago. If I found my fellow 1-D moms we would secretly giggle! I’d scream “You Go Girl!” to the gals I walked beside for 26.2 miles to raise money for Breast Cancer Research. Instead I quietly watch as this place quickly fills to maximum capacity, wait for my little family to arrive and blog! 

They say graduations are for looking ahead, but I clearly seem to be a looking back type of gal. I hope that does not translate to a glass half full mentality, but that’s where my head and heart are right now. So, I sit here amongst friends who have attended kindergarten together, families who have helped raise each others children, yet I sit alone. I see people tightly hugging each other and notice others purposefully pretending not to see each other. I can’t play either of those games because my people are not here. If this is how I feel, I think of how my children feel. My Aunt once said “Allison, you can only be as happy as your unhappiest child.”  Such a powerful and truthful statement. Please understand, this is not a plea for sympathy at all. I am just sharing with you honestly, as was always my promise. 

While you may have history, endless family and friends in your town, our friends and family are typically scattered across the USA. These are the circumstances of a football coach’s family. As mom of this family one of the most challenging aspect for me has always been uprooting our children. Let’s start with a few of the challenges, shall we? Saying goodbye to best friends, wonderful schools and tight-knit neighborhoods. Learning new school drop-off rules and traffic patterns-especially in South Florida. Dropping our kids off the first day of school with not a single friend except each other. The amount of bravery it takes for them to step out of our car the first day of school is something I’d have to dig so deep for. I can empathize since every single Open House it’s the same thing for me: Everyone chit-chats, laughs about past field trips while I pretend to be strong enough to not care, feel alone or both. 

Our children assure us they would not change a thing about living in so many different places. They are emphatic in the belief that all our moving around has helped to make them stronger, more resilient and determined. They can comfortably walk into a room of strangers and strike up conversations with just about anybody. They are adaptable, independent and confident too. They have the strongest sense of empathy and fully grasp the importance of a true friend. Our children share these traits with the countless other coaches children across this country. Those children will also not be found here today. 

So, while I may indeed be sad only knowing a few of the wonderful people in this jam packed auditorium, I am reminded that I am actually quite lucky tonight. Lucky enough to be missing all the wonderful people we have met at each one of our “stops.” Grateful for strangers who became dear, dear friends. Indebted to all the teachers, counselors and principals who took that extra step to make us feel at “home” when we first arrived. If you were all here I would hug you long, share a tear or two and thank you from the VERY bottom of my heart.  

Moral: Though saying goodbye is most painful, worse would be leaving and having no one to say goodbye to. 

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