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the right thing

I left Jack at home tonight, alone after dark for the first time. He's quite responsible for a 9-year-old boy. Still, it worried me to do it.

Today was the last day of school. Jack's report card showed maintenance or improvement across the rubric. His coveted LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean for Wii came from in the mail today. He conducted himself with confidence at this afternoon's piano recital, even when I lost my place in the duet we played and missed the page turn.

I couldn't make him sit through a high school graduation. I just couldn't.

But I couldn't miss it, either. I've known Michelle's daughter since she was Jack's age. When I met Carolyn she was a third grader attending the same school as Jack. They even had the same third grade teacher.

And my Michelle... she's been there for me. She understands my current travails. Four years ago she and her husband divorced under different circumstances. Of all the family members, Carolyn in particular has had a hard time coming to terms with the divorce. She harbors a lot of anger toward her father. Relations between her and her dad are strained, if they exist at all. Of course he insists on attending her graduation. What father wouldn't?

So. Leave my child at home, alone, for 2+ hours at night on the last day of school? Or stay home with my child and miss Carolyn's graduation?

I chose to go. I'm glad I did.

Jack got to stay home and play his new video game for 3 solid hours.

I got to show my friend Michelle how much she means to me by standing by her side and cheering when Carolyn walked across the stage to accept her diploma. I showed her I've got her back in an uncomfortable situation.

"You have no idea how much this means to me," she whispered to me at one point during the evening.

But I think I do. It meant a lot to me too.


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